I shouldn't be writing this right now. In fact, I shouldn't have been watching the world track and field championships, which prompted this blog. But Boss, I couldn't help myself.
Usain Bolt did it again. A new world record in the men's 100 metres. A mere 9.58 seconds, start to finish. It took longer to write the sentence with his time, than it took to run the race for the Jamaican superman. And when it was all done, ho hum. The dancer and prancer from Beijing is all grown up and expecting the kind of stupefying performance he put on today in Berlin.
Let's put things in perspective. Tyson Gay of the U.S.A. ran the third-fastest time in the history of the race. Bolt beat him by .13, a full eighth of a second. He lowered his own world record by .11 seconds, more than a tenth of a second, in a race where the record used to get lowered by a hundredth here, a couple of hundredths there. If anybody had any right to start goofing around, playing the winning clown, it was Bolt.
Everybody who knows me, knows I detest the kind of premeditated narcissistic celebration routines that permeate sports, especially football. I hate them, hate them, hate them. Basically because they come in team sports and celebrate 'I' rather than team. But in the individual sports, like track, I have a whole lot less antipathy towards celebration. And I also point out, celebrating a meaningless touchdown in Hamilton in July is a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT than a world record in anything. Let alone the demolition job Bolt did on records in Beijing. Actually, I found the youthful enthusiasm refreshing and honest, something I could never say about that idiot Arland Bruce or his goofball brothers-in-shoulder pads Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.
Bolt was in Toronto earlier this year, winning a sub-10 second race in the rain. Any doubts I had about genuineness disappeared that day. He's a big teddy bear of a guy who loves running fast. He's personable and is not full of himself. He's the ideal ambassador for the sport, which still hasn't completely overcome the druggie champions of the past. And no, I don't think there's anything chemical going on in the Jamaican giant that isn't natural and legal. I've long thought some past champions escaped detection. I'm only sure of a few having run to glory completely cleanly (Donovan Bailey from down the road in Oakville is one of them). But add Bolt to the list. The man is a self-refined freak of nature.
What finally struck me most about that record today was the fact Bolt didn't act surprised. He ran through the whole race, something he didn't do in Beijing. That was a night when he ran 9.69, celebrating over the last 30 metres. What could he have run if he'd been intent on pushing the limits?
We know now. Something in the 9.5's. Incredible. And that's worth celebrating.