If Beijing belonged to Michael Phelps, London belongs to Usain Bolt.
The fastest man on earth completed a unique, unprecedented triple double after running anchor as Jamaica crushed the world record to win the men’s 4X100 metres relay at the
Olympic Stadium in London on Saturday.
Fittingly, Bolt’s last run was the end of the athletics programme at the Olympic Stadium and completed a unique set for the Jamaican legend. Bolt is six for six in Olympic finals; in baseball parlance that is equal to pitching a no-hitter, in cricketing parlance, it probably equals hitting six consecutive centuries in World Cup games.
It’s a rare, almost superhuman feat.
Bolt, on his own, is almost unbeatable. Bolt with Yohan Blake and other members of Jamaica’s growing sprint brethren is almost alien. No wonder then, that in the mixed zones after the race, Blake said, “We dropped from space like Mr Bean. Mr Bean is not a normal guy, he makes jokes. We are not normal guys. We are from space, I am from Mars.”
That had the press in fits. Even Bolt shook his head.
“I told him, if he keeps talking like that, someday someone is going to put him in a straitjacket,” said Bolt.
On Saturday night, no one could. Blake has been almost a shadow Bolt in London — waiting, biding his time to make his move. He is four years younger and if he manages to keep up his level of growth, Bolt’s records might not hold as long as many might believe.
Blake ran the third leg of the relay. When he got the baton, Jamaica were clearly behind, but Blake accelerated in searing pace and when he handed the baton to Bolt for the last 100, the Jamaicans were caught in a dead-heat down the straight with the USA. Ryan Bailey is fast, but against Bolt, he stood no chance as the latter won by a couple of metres.
The Jamaican barrelled down the straight in lane seven sealing a quite unbelievable series of triumphs. “My lucky number,” he said later after he had bent down to kiss the athletic track.
This time there were less histrionics from Bolt. In a manner of speaking, he expected this. The USA team was good. In truth they were excellent, equalling the Jamaicans’ previous world record of 37.04, but the Caribbean team were better, stopping the clock under 37 seconds for the first time.
Maybe he didn’t smile as much, asked the press?
“I think the crowd will forgive me for not celebrating as much,” said Bolt.
But in truth he did, joining the British distance runner Mohammad Farah on stage to pull out a celebration that will yet live on as one of the most iconic images of the games. Bolt passed over his famous ‘to di world’ pose to Farah and borrowed the Briton’s expansive Mo-bot.
“Me and Mo, we go way back,” said Bolt. “We have been through many ups and downs together.
“I had planned to do the MoBot before, but it slipped my mind. Before the race today, I watched Mo win the 5000 metres and made a note to do this,” he said.
It was a fitting image to bring the curtain down on track and field in the Games. Usain Bolt and Mohammad Farah; two of the most enduring athletes of the Games, together, celebrating as 80,000 plus people inside the stadium cheered endlessly.
It will possibly also be the last time we see Bolt in the Olympics. He has already branded Rio in 2016 as a ‘very difficult challenge’ and Bolt seems like a man who has achieved every goal he ever set out for himself in this sport.
“The rest of the season, I will just be running for my fans,” he admitted. “Running as a living legend.”
For Bolt, life now seems about relaxing. Asked what he would probably be doing in 2022, Bolt’s answer was instantaneous.
“Just chilling somewhere. I am a lazy person.”
-With The Daily Star input