Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Steven Beacom: Sensational Bolt is king of London

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Usain Bolt of Jamaica crosses the line to win gold in the MenÂs 100m Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt in his trademark pose after winning the men's 100-metres final (AP/Matt Slocum)
The moment of glory for Usain Bolt in the men's 100 metres final (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Usain Bolt crosses the finish line ahead of Jamaica's Yohan Blake in the men's 100 metres final (AP/Matt Dunham)
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius in the Men's 400m Heats during day eight of the London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium,, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Spectators soak up the atmopshere on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Athletes swim the first leg of the Women's Triathlon during the Triathlon on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hyde Park on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa competes in the Men's 400m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Competitors start the Women's Triathlon around London
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Clarisse Cruz of Portugal competes in the Women's 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece hits over the net during the Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between China and Greece on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: The Germany team throw their cox Martin Sauer into the water after winning gold in the Men's Eight Final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 1, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: A Canada team member jumps into the water as his team-mates celebrate winning silver in the Men's Eight Final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 1, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Hassine Ghada of Tunisia competes in the Women's 69kg Weightlifting on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Natasha Perdue of Great Britain reacts while competing in the Women's 69kg Weightlifting on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Anastasia Zueva of Russia and Elizabeth Beisel of the United States embrace after competing in the Women's 200m Backstroke heat 3 on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
British police officers arrest a supporter of Ukrainian FEMEN movement protesting in a "Islamic Marathon" against what they claim are bloody Islamist regimes that are supported by the International Olympic Committee outside City Hall in London, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Aidan Zingel #1 and Igor Yudin #6 of Australia block Australia shot from Great Britain during Men's Volleyball on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei (L) of China competes in the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Daniel Narcisse of France jumps ahead of Gonzalo Matias Carou of Argentina during the Men's Handball Preliminary match between Argentina and France on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Copper Box on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Michael Phelps of the United States dives off of the block at the start of heat 5 of the Men's 200m Butterfly on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Nicholas McCrory from the United States during warm-ups on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro (L) of Mexico look on from the pool deck during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Jose Antonio Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre of Cuba during the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Diving on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.
Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer of the United States compete during the Men's Canoe Double (C2) Slalom heats on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Clayton Fredericks of Australia falls from Bendigo in the Eventing Cross Country Equestrian event on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Great Britain's Tom Daley (left) and Peter Waterfield practice before the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform Final during day three of the 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London.
Great Britain's Nicola Wilson riding Opposition Buzz jumps The Moon fence on the cross country course during The Eventing at Greenwich Park, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Max Whitlock competes on the vault during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics
Great Britain's Sarah Clark (left) is thrown by France's Automne Pavia during their WomenÕs 57kg Judo bout at the ExCel North Arena 2, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Richard Brickell during Day 1 of the Skeet Qualification Round at the Royal Artillery Barracks, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Francesca Dallape and Tania Cagnotto of Italy compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Kazakhstan's Sergey Lim is thrown by Japan's Masashi Ebinuma (right) in the Men's 66kg Judo Round of 16 at the ExCeL Centre on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Liam Tancock starts his Men's 100m Backstroke First Semi-final at the Aquatics Centre, London.
USA's Venus Williams during the practice session at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.
Great Britain's Joseph Regan (blue cap) battles for the ball against Romania in the mens Water Polo preliminary group B match at the Water Polo Arena, London.
Great Britain's Beth Tweddle competes on the uneven bars during the Artistic Gymnastics Team Qualification at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics
Rebecca Adlington (C) of Great Britain competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat 3 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Yao Jinnan of China practises on the Beam during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games
Bryony Shaw of Great Britain in action during training at the Weymouth & Portland Venue ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Vasiliki Millousi of Greece competes on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Laura Ludwig of Germany dives for the ball during Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between Germany and Australia on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Victoria Komova of Russia competes on the vault in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Mike Dawson of New Zealand competes during the Men's Kayak (K1) Canoe Slalom heats on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Heem Wei Lim of Singapore performs on the beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Michael Phelps of the United States dives into the water to swim his leg of the relay as team mate Nathan Adrian touches the wall during the Final of the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Emily Seebohm of Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke semi final 2 on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Luol Deng #9 of Great Britain falls as a basket is made against Russia during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Austin Playfoot, lights the Olympic Cauldron following it being moved into position ready for the athletics in the Olympic Stadium on July 30, 2012 in London
Great Britain's Sarah Barrow (near) and Tonia Couch practice their diving routine during the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London.
Great Britain's Rebecca Gallantree (bottom) and Alicia Blagg compete in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard at the Aquatics Centre, London, on the second day of the London 2012 Olympics.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Street artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London, England. The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games will take place in seven days on July 27, 2012. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Annabelle Smith of Australia practices a dive during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
A member of Team Australia practices the floor exercise during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Diver Tom Daley of Great Britain shakes water out of his hair as he climbs out of the pool during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley (R) and Peter Waterfield of Great Britain during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley of Great Britain dives during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Great Britain's Tim Baillie (left) and Stott Etienne in action in the mens double canoe during the training session at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.
Athletes from the Great Britain Women's Synchronised Swimming team practice during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) A Chinese diver trains ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
The Great Britain synchronize team train ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Yang Sun of China swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.
James Goddard of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Swimmer Hayden Stoeckel of Australia swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Daniele Matias Hypolito of Brazil chalks her feet on the uneven bars during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Awesome, just awesome. Crown him now. Usain Bolt is the King of London 2012, the fastest man on earth and the greatest athlete ever to put on a pair of spikes.

The 25-year-old Jamaican, who oozes charisma and charm and has character to go with it, proved that without doubt on Sunday night by winning a breathtaking 100m Olympic final in front of 80,000 joyous and bewitched spectators.

Saturday night brought three gold medals for Britain in this wonderful, atmospheric venue.

Well, Bolt's magnificent victory was treated like another.

They love him here. They love him everywhere.

“Usain, Usain, Usain” chanted the admiring fans after Bolt whipped his rivals in a time of 9.63 seconds — a new Olympic record and the second fastest in history.

Bolt's best of 9.58 may not have been obliterated but the gold medal was what he came here for.

And nobody could stop him, not even World Champion, training partner and countryman Yohan “the Beast” Blake who finished second in 9.75, equalling his quickest time. American Justin Gatlin, who recently returned to the sport after serving a ban for taking drugs, took the bronze in 9.79 edging out fellow Yank Tyson Gay (9.80). In fifth was USA's Ryan Bailey (9.88), sixth surprise finalist Churandy Martina from Holland in 9.94 and Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson next in 9.98.

The only one of the finalists not to go under 10 seconds was the man who has done it more times than anyone else, the injured Asafa Powell who trailed in at 11.99.

Gatlin and Blake made better starts than Bolt, but the big man, all 6ft 5 inches of him, brought the big finish overtaking the pair of them by halfway with those giant strides and rocketing away to become the first sprinter since Carl Lewis in 1988 to retain a 100m Olympic title.

Lewis won gold in Seoul after Canadian Ben Johnson was disqualified for failing a drug test.

Track and field took years to recover from that and maybe only since Bolt has come on the scene have people started to love, if not entirely trust, this fabulous sport again.

It's no exaggeration to say that in many ways he has been the saviour of athletics and the 80,000 fortunate souls here to see the 100m final — two million had applied for tickets — treated him as such as he struck his familiar winning pose. You know the one, go on, do it, you know you want to.

Debates had raged over his well being with Bolt stating he was only “95 per cent fit”.

Four years ago in Beijing he won three gold medals, breaking three world records in the most explosive sprinting ever seen.

But that was then. This is now.

His World title had gone, lost last year to Blake after a false start and disqualification in Daegu, and so was that aura of invincibility, especially when Blake beat him in the Jamaican trials.

A nagging question hung over the London air as Bolt went to the blocks: is he still the fastest around? He answered in the most defiant, stunning manner of all.

Blitzing towards the Olympic flame like a firework, the cauldron in the stadium almost boiled over such was the heat out on the track.

He was so far ahead in Beijing in 2008 that he showboated at the finish.

There was no messing about this time. He saved the fun and that eccentric comic side of his for before and after the race, not during it, and was rewarded with a history making, magical, never to be forgotten moment when he became Olympic champion again.

Bolt's the ultimate global sporting figure and the crowd, whose anticipation had been heightened by blistering semi-finals, were in raptures as he smiled his way round the track on a riotous victory lap.

On Saturday Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce retained her Olympic 100m title. Bolt followed suit marking the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence in style.

Bolt, whose manager Ricky Simms is from Donegal, says he's a “secret Irishman” and when he's not training enjoys a “nice cold pint of Guinness”.

He may have the 200m and relay coming up, but I reckon he's earned a drop of the black stuff.

Usain Bolt — King of London 2012, Olympic champion and still the fastest man on the planet.

--

Christine Ohuruogu produced a storming finish to claim a silver medal for Great Britain in the defence of her Olympic 400 metres title on home soil.

American Sanya Richards-Ross took gold in 49.55 seconds with Ohuruogu clocking a season's best of 49.70secs, just 0.02s ahead of another American DeeDee Trotter.

“I was stunned. I was heartbroken actually,” said Ohuruogu.

“To lose your title like that, it was tough, but Sanya's a worthy competitor and she ran a good race so I have to be happy with what I got.”

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