Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 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)
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.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre