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Monday, August 6, 2012

London Struck By Bolt of Lightning

While there may have been doubt from others, all the naysayers after the Jamaican National meet; there was never a strain in confidence from the world’s fastest man. Usain Bolt restated what has always been his creed during recent track history. “I’ve said over the years, that when it comes to the championships, this is what I do”. “It’s all about business for me.” Handling business is exactly what the 25-year-old defending Olympic 100 meter champion did on Sunday in London. At the halfway mark of the game’s premier event, Bolt turned up the juice to capture his second consecutive gold medal going away in a time of 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record! The victory allows Bolt to join the elite status of only the great Carl Lewis as the only men with consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100 meters. As he took a victory lap in only the way the Jamaican superstar can, with his right index finger lifted in the air showing his number one status, Bolt received high fives from enthusiastic fans in the front rows, eventually stopping to give his now famous lightning bolt pose. The easy and convincing win, by .12 seconds or two full strides, backed up the first stage of Bolt’s coming out party from Beijing four years ago. In China, the 6-foot-5 physical specimen blew up the track and field world by taking gold in the world record times in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay, something no man had ever done at an Olympics. He later backed that performance with a new world mark in the 100 of 9.58 at the next year’s world championships. But then came a dip in his prime, a chink in the armor of the Superman of sprint events. A series of minor injuries to his back and legs helped spring a series of defeats, aiding talks of his demise. In 2010 he lost to American Tyson Gay. A false start disqualified Bolt from the 100 meters in last year’s world championships as teammate Yohan Blake stepped to the forefront. Then came this year’s Jamaican Olympic qualifying meet where Blake once again dealt Bolt a power shortage, upsetting him in both the 100 and 200 meters. But when the lights came on in the race that really counts, the superstar re-emerged. Showing no signs of fear or concern, Bolt was as flamboyant as ever before entering the starting blocks, playing to the crowd and flashing a million dollar smile to the live camera, which proved to be pre-courser of things to come. The victory however is just the first part of what could be a London performance that forever cements his legacy as the greatest sprinter to ever grace the surface of the planet. The 200 meters now waits with heat races beginning on Tuesday. Then the team 4x100 and possibly even a run with his teammates in the 4x400. Should Bolt strike more gold in all of these events he will surpass all of the previous greats, even Lewis in dominance. He of course won ten medals including nine gold; over three separate Olympic Games, with back to back gold medals in the 100 in Los Angeles and Seoul but only after Canada’s Ben Johnson was stripped of his medal after failing a drug test. Three or four gold medals will also eclipse the biggest stories of the games to date in Michael Phelps career mark of 22 medals over three games and the emergence of American Gabby Douglas stunning win of the gymnastics all-around competition in London. Without a doubt the showmanship, the confidence and playfulness make Bolt the most intriguing attraction of the games. He sucks the spotlight in like a black hole and uses the electricity created from the attention to power his way to dominance and standards never seen before on the Olympic stage in track and field.

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