In winning short sprints at the apex level by margins that could be considered as ‘miles’, and by coasting to victory in an almost cavalier devil-may-care style in race after race, he has infused the kind of excitement among sports lovers that only a Mohammed Ali, a Don Bradman, a Michael Phelps, a Tiger Woods, a Diego Maradona or a Bjorn Borg had managed to do before him.
Already, he speaks of wanting to become a legend, ‘and nothing else’! In fact, in many ways, his feats are even more astonishing than those of the glitterati mentioned above. He has taken just a few months to beat world records by margins that earlier took many decades to shave off. The World record in the 100 meters dash, stood at 9.95 seconds in 1968 and went down to 9.85 seconds only in 1994 whereas Bolt improved his own World record from 9.69 to 9.58 in a matter of exactly one year!
The skeptics would have waited for him to falter somehow or somewhere, a la Ben Johnson perhaps, but no such eventuality appears possible with Usain Bolt. He appears to love running more than anything else on the earth and it shows in the manner in which he raises his effort levels on the really big stage, like the Olympics or the World Championships. His humble origins and meteoric rise to the top of the world are already the stuff that legends are made of.
His accident a few weeks prior to the World Championship would have led many an athlete to withdraw from such a major event, (as top sportspersons across the world tend to do nowadays, at the slightest hint of injury!) but Bolt not only competed, he shone like a beacon and annexed all three titles, with two of them coming in World Record timings.
Michael Johnson, the former 200 metres great, had been quoted before the finals at Berlin last week, as having said that it may take years to beat the World Record in that distance by as huge a margin as Bolt had managed in the 100 metres sprint days earlier. He must have gaped even more than we did at the sheer horse power of Bolt, as he raced round the bend with amazing alacrity, while shattering the record so comprehensively!
Exactly what Bolt’s dazzling achievements would have done to inspire budding sports persons throughout the globe can only be a matter of conjecture at this stage. Suffice it to say that not only sportspersons but people from all walks of life would take heart from the performances of Mr Bolt, for he has proved inexorably, that there is no substitute for sheer grit and hard work if one wishes to reach the pinnacle. A little bit of talent and skill come in handy too!