In the same way as Mexico City is remembered for Bob Beamon and Munich for Lasse Viren, the athletics in Beijing will be remembered for Usain Bolt.

These were Usain's Games, and beyond that, Jamaica's.

Nothing could ever top what he did in the 100m, 200m and the relay. Even the other athletes only seemed to want to talk about him.

You need superheroes. You need stars that everyone round the world knows, not just within athletics.


If I had to pick one of Bolt's three stunning world records as the highlight, it would be the 100m.

We always thought that one day he might be capable of attacking Michael Johnson's mark over the 200m, but the status of the 100m, its importance out here and the manner of that extraordinary win still give me goose-bumps.

The 200m was incredible too - we think he ran 9.96 secs for the first half of the race, round the bend - and all of it was great for the sport.

Five world records in total in the Bird's Nest made this a pretty good 10 days of athletics.

There was drama everywhere - Bekele's brilliant double over 5,000m and 10,000m, the shocks of Sanya Richards and Jeremy Wariner getting beaten, the performances of Yelena Isinbeyeva in the pole vault, Tia Hellebaut in the high jump and Andreas Thorkildsen in the javelin.

In that sense it was superior to Athens four years ago. What we missed compared to Sydney was the Cathy Freeman moment.

Liu Xiang's absence through injury robbed us of that one special night for the home crowd. The venue was fantastic and the crowd generally responsive to what they saw in front of them, but a Chinese gold from their favourite athlete would have lifted the roof off.

Some events and some countries didn't perform as well as in other years, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I think the tougher drug-testing regimes are starting to bite.

The women's 200m was a case in point. While the standard of the top two or three was pretty good, the depth was not there. You could run 22.50 secs and make the final - and that's nowhere near what you used to need to make the Olympic final.

As for the British team - purely from a medal perspective, these don't appear to have been a bad Olympics.

The aim beforehand was five medals, and we were one off that in the end with several fourth places.

We won the gold we hoped for too, albeit in a different event to the one we expected, and the silver and one bronze from surprise quarters (Germaine Mason and Natasha Danvers).


But, much as it did four years ago in Athens, the medals can skew your picture of what actually happened.

What concerns me is the lack of strength in depth, and the absence of green shoots coming through for 2012.

Only three British men made it to individual track finals, out of ten possible events - not ten athletes, mind, but ten events. That's a big worry.

Martyn Rooney reached the final of the 400m, which was good, and you can't blame Michael Rimmer for his illness in the 800m.

But the sprinters and middle distance performances were disappointing. It shouldn't just be Michael in the 800m - there should be three Brits in there. And where are the youngsters coming through behind him?

In the field, the men had three in the final of the high jump, two in the triple jump and one in the long jump.

That's good, but that was it - nobody in any other field final.

The women's side of the team did far better, which in turn raises even more questions about their male counterparts.

Christine Ohuruogu ran a brilliant race for her 400m gold. Goldie Sayers and Helen Pattinson set British records; Mara Yamauchi produced her best marathon performance in a GB vest and Jeanette Kwakye and Sarah Claxton reached surprise finals.

It shouldn't be any harder for the women to raise their game at an Olympics and get PBs - so why can't men do it?

We can't have a situation where we're hosting the Olympics and we don't have athletes in track and field finals.

Four years away from London, we have to be absolutely confident that the personnel in charge and the structure behind them are right.

There's not the time left to wait and see. If there are going to be changes, they have to be made fairly quickly.

Steve Cram was talking to BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce

Steve Cram won a silver medal in the 1500m at the 1984 Olympics and is now a BBC presenter. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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