BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce
« Previous | Main | Next »

A new day, a new wonder

Post categories:

Tom Fordyce | 22:39 UK time, Thursday, 20 August 2009

If that's running tired, keep me awake for weeks.

19.19 seconds? 19.19 seconds? Usain Bolt has created a new art form: Scoreboards We Thought We'd Never See.

Available in a series of four, limited-edition prints, each adorned with the artist's unique archer's motif. Value: Golden.

Has there ever been a sequence of runs like this? Like most things Usain, never before.

Four major finals, four gold medals, four astonishing world records. 9.69 seconds in the Olympic 100m, 19.30 secs in the 200m just days later, 9.58 secs in the 100m on Sunday and now 19.19 seconds. You want to include the relay? Then make that five, with a sixth maybe to follow at the weekend.

It's a track record without parallel, in both senses of the phrase.

Ever since he came out at the start of last year with a golden glimmer in his eye and a magical spring in his step, Bolt has redefined the boundaries of what was believed to be humanly possible. It sounds like hyperbole, but it's not. It's just Hyper Bolt.

Bolt left his rivals trailing

We should be used to it by now, but each fresh wonder is as staggering as the last. The best 200m judge around, Michael Johnson, was convinced Bolt wouldn't break the record on Thursday night. So was Bolt himself.

"I didn't expect it," he panted afterwards. "I was little bit tired, but I thought, well heck, let's try."

For once, Bolt did look like he was trying. There was the usual horse-play beforehand - the t-shirt with the words 'Ich bin ein Berlino' scrawled on it, the slow-motion comedy haymaker aimed at rival Wallace Spearmon as they warmed up, the conducting of the crowd to first quieten down and then roar - but from the gun he went hard, hard, hard.

Within 15 strides he had overtaken the sprinters in all three lanes outside him. Within 30 you knew the record was on.

Arms pumping, teeth gritted, face grimacing. The race numbers stuck to his thighs took flight and were left behind. For a quite a while they were in second place.

As he came into the last 50 metres he glanced right, and then right again. Quite who he expected to see there was not quite clear - a motorcycle outrider? A traffic cop waving a speed gun?

On and on, a dip on the line, and then a stare at the scoreboard. We know the routine by now - scream him through the tape and then focus on those yellow numbers on the electronic screen standing just inside the infield eight metres past the finish.

It still doesn't prepare you for the shock of what you see.

The incredulity doesn't end. You look at the wind gauge - headwind. You skim the results sheet - five men under 20 seconds for the first time in history, none of them within distant metres of the winner, Shawn Crawford running 19.89secs and finishing outside the medals.

Bolt's new time compared to previous 200m world record-holders, British best Regis and best women Griffith-Joyner
Bolt's new time compared to previous 200m world record-holders, British best Regis and best women Griffith-Joyner

"I was trying, I was dying, my form was going backwards." This is the sort of quote you expect to hear from someone who has just gone out in the first-round heats. You don't expect to hear it from a man who has just knocked over a tenth of a second off a sprint world record for the second time in four days.

"That," said Johnson emphatically, "was a ridiculous race. That bend was unbelievable. No-one has ever run a bend like that and probably never will. The person who might break these records has not been born yet."

Up in the stands, Bolt's family waved their Jamaican flags with glorious glee. They hadn't all been there in Beijing, but they weren't going to watch this one from back home in Trelawny. Mum Jennifer dabbed her eyes, brother Sadiki high-fived, dad Wellesley gave it an all-teeth beamer.

Wellesley had been asked earlier what his own sprinting pedigree was like. "I used to do the 200m and 400m at primary school," he said with delightful understatement, "but I was never as good as him."

It was a night to remember in the Olympiastadion. Bolt was, of course, the major reason, but there was so much more. In a purple patch of around 30 minutes, we saw the greatest 200m in history, a fantastic women's 400m hurdles final, a 110m hurdles final where the first three men were separated by less than a hundredth of a second and a high jump competition that brought a capacity crowd of 75,000 people to complete silence and then ear-splitting celebration.

'Thunderbolt Thursday', some dubbed it. Others called it 'Thrilling Thursday' or 'Thank Flip It's Thursday'.

The support was sensational. German crowds understand and appreciate track and field like almost no other nation. When almost the entire stadium stayed behind late to cheer on the much-delayed decathlon 1500m heats, the noise almost matched the reception given to Bolt.

Many had come hoping to cheer a gold for Ariane Friedrich - and as the home favourite traded spring-heeled leaps with Blanka Vlasic and Anna Chicherova, it seemed for a while as if they would have their wish.

Blanka Vlasic shouts for joy after clearing the bar

Vlasic had other ideas. Named after Casablanca, the venue of her father's victory in the Mediterranean Games decathlon in 1983, she had been a shock loser in Beijing. In Berlin on Thursday, of all the bars in all the towns in all the world, she had to get over this one.

That the crowd gave Vlasic such a splendid reception once victory was confirmed speaks volumes for the atmosphere these championships have enjoyed so far. This, you thought, could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

For Jamaica, the golds keep coming. When Melaine Walker, running the second fastest time ever, added the world 400m hurdles title to her Olympic one, the Caribbean island went top of the championship medal table, ahead even of the USA.

For Britain, there were further reasons to let the optimism sown by Jess Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Jenny Meadows flower still further. Greg Rutherford set a new national record in long jump qualifying, Will Sharman came a hugely creditable fourth in the sprint hurdles despite originally not even being selected for the team and Emily Freeman became the first British woman to make a world 200m final since Kathy Cook in Helsinki back in 1983.

As the thousands streamed away into the humid Berlin night, however, there was only one man they were all talking about.

On Friday, Usain Bolt celebrates his 23rd birthday. He'll probably break the world record for the most candles blown out in history, or take the biggest slice off the existing cake that anyone's ever seen.

Anyone fancy gatecrashing the party?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I remember not all that long ago that to run 100 metres in less that 10 seconds was considered to be a fantastic achievement, now the World record is just over 9.5 seconds. This has got me wondering just how fast a human is destined to run. Will someone eventually run under 9 seconds, or is that just too much of a stretch?

  • Comment number 2.

    After all the drug scandals that have dominated athletics for the last few decades, something tells me that there was a higher force involved in the emergence of Usain Bolt and I am not religious in any way!

    After 4 fantastic World Record breaking performances, he is already up there with the likes of Muhammed Ali, Rod Laver and Jesse Owens as true all-time sporting greats and he is only 22!

    Truly unique and exactly what athletics needed for its flagship events.

  • Comment number 3.

    Forget gender tests, this guy needs a human test. It just boggles my mind, all his competitors must be thinking what other events they are good at. Scheduling in major tournament will probably be the only thing that stops him winning every sprint event in the next decade including possibly the 400m. 9.5 and 19 sec are both within his range.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am Welsh, a rugby fan and a lifelong supporter of the Llanelli Scarlets. I also love watching Wales and the British and Irish Lions. They have given me many moments of pleasure (and despair) over the years. But rugby is played over 80+ minutes. It takes a lot for me to sit up and take notice of other sports, but:
    Usain Bolt plays his dramas over 9+ or 19+ seconds! The adrenalin he produces in me in seconds is unbelievable! I will always watch the Scarlets, Wales and the BIL, but this guy is unbelievable! As an athlete and, in general, a sportsman, he has given me more pleasure in the least amount of time I can ever imagine. How much faster can he go? I will be glued to the screen in future. Bolt is already the best sprinter of all time. I know it's difficult to make comparisons, but where is he in a league of all-time sporting greats? To early to tell? Does he need to prove his world-class talent over a number of years? I don't know.. If anyone can give me better examples of more exciting 9+/19+ seconds worth of sporting excellence I'd love to see them..

  • Comment number 5.

    Another 'reggae' performance by Bolt. The remarkable thing about his race is that it seems to have lifted the other athletes to improve their performance. In the 100m record breaking performance, there were five athletes who had run under 10secs and for the 200m, there were another five athletes who ran under 20 secs. Either that Bolt has really inspired these athletes to challenge their own PBs or that these athletes have benefited from the vortex or vacuum created by the speed at which Bolt had run.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think he should turn his sights towards the 400m. He's said he could do it but would need to improve his endurance. He's already got the 100m and 200m world records, which are safe and I very much doubt will ever be broken, so why not go for the 400m? I think he could smash the record quite comfortably!!

  • Comment number 7.

    These Berlin Games have been a great display of the triumph of belief. We, as Jamaicans, used to believe we COULD be great at athletics, as each major world games (Olympics or World Champs) approached, after fantastic NCAA or season times and results for our most talented. We had a proud and outsize history, stemming from the exploits at London '48 and Helsinki '52.

    But time after time, our heroes, male and female were pipped on the line by sundry East Germans, Americans or Russians. We grew content with bronze and 4th, going wild over silver. Merlene Ottey even began to be referred to by the American media at each major event as the "bronze Queen". Then came hints that more could be possible. Deon Hemmings in 1996 winning our first women's Olympics gold. The womens sprint relay in Athens in 2004, and Veronica Campbell. And we started believing that we didn't have to be runners-up. Now, after Usain, Veronica, Melaine, Shelly Ann, Brigitte et al, we have started to KNOW that we are good enough to take gold, we tut-tut about silver and ignore bronze, unless it's part of a 1st and 3rd combo! The magic in Beijing and now in Berlin have made us dare to dream of ALL things...to EXPECT that all our athletes will make the finals, and to not wonder whether we will come home with medals, but how many golds! Amazing...and all in about 10 or so years. We hope that imbued with the culture of belief, our younger athletes watching from home the exploits of Usain and Melaine and all the others will be motivated to train that much harder, so that the 'athletics factory' will continue to produce more and better.

    Finally...re the media...anyone who grew up in Jamaica and was watching the Olympics and World Champs in the 80's and later had to be content with watching the NBC feed, where apparently, ONLY Americans were competing, and we had to endure the painful snubbing of our athletes, who only became interesting if they were trained at US colleges and competed at NCAA events. Mercifully, thanks to the BBC, we can now enjoy proper coverage of the games, where they understand that it is the WORLD Champs, not the American Champs.

    Salute the indomitable spirit of our athletes...One love!

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Those of you claiming that think that the 400m world record is merely a formality are forgetting just how good Michael Johnson was. A fast 100m sprinter with stamina was always going to have a shot at the 200m record; I'd be genuinely stunned if Bolt got within half a second of Johnson's 400m time.

  • Comment number 11.

    culopeloso, I would agree with you, it is by no means a formality but this isn't a regular sprinter. He already has a 400m pb of 45.28 a couple of years ago, which is only half a second of being in the 400m final. He ran 400m as a junior and said before that he wants to run that distance so i certainly wouldn't bet against him. I never thought I'd see mj 200m go but usain has taken 0.13sec off it. For him to tackle the 400m though i don't think he can do the 100m at the same time.

  • Comment number 12.

    Usain Bolt is quite simply a force of nature. He is astonishing.

  • Comment number 13.

    “It doesn’t give me any motivation to break the 400 record, I’ve still got to train really hard. Everybody knows I’m not running 400 unless my coach gives me a good reason to do it. I stay as far away from it as possible.”
    http://www.berlin2009.org/75-1-315-51-berlin-2009-8482-loc-men-200-meters-medallists-press-conference.html
    ---------

    We had a tradition in quarter mile from McKinley to Cameron so hope we don't rely on Bolt for getting back to success in that event. Though he's done 200/400 in youth - trying 100 was partly to get away from doing the 400.

    The record of Butch Reynolds probably looked as if was going to stay much longer than it did - till Michael Johnson. We sometimes think / have an explanation (after the fact) for why so-and-so was always on the cards to be broken.
    :-)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/athletics/8206524.stm
    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/today/today_20090817-1038b.mp3
    --------------
    Great to see the spread of talent...
    Trinidad: Jehue Gordon (M 400m h 4th), Josanne Lucas (W 400m h 3rd), Renny Quow (M 400m), JOSANNE LUCAS (W 400m h 3rd)
    Barbados: RYAN BRATHWAITE (M 110m winner)
    Panama: Alonso Edwards (M 200m 2nd)
    ...amongst other.
    ------------------------

    “If Queen Elizabeth knights me, would I get the title ‘Sir Usain Bolt’? That sounds very nice!”
    http://www.berlin2009.org/75-1-318-1-lightning-strikes-twice-in-the-same-place.html
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/highschool/04/29/jamaica.champs/index.html
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/web/COM1144175/index.htm
    http://jaaaltd.com/results/2009/champs/
    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sports/html/20090405T220000-0500_148906_OBS_FOREIGN_JOURNALISTS_BOWLED_OVER_BY_CHAMPS_.asp
    ------------------------------
    "Bolt became the first junior sprinter to run the 200 m in under 20 seconds with a time of 19.93"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt
    WJR 19.93 Usain Bolt (JAM) - Devonshire, 11/04/2004
    http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/toplists/inout=o/age=j/season=2009/sex=M/all=n/legal=A/disc=200/detail.html
    The IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics are the world championships open for junior age (of 18 or 19 years on 31 December in the year of the competition [1]) athletes, organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations. It is held biennially since 1986.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAAF_World_Junior_Championships_in_Athletics
    http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/biographies/letter=e/country=pan/athcode=228410/index.html
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/men/article6799535.ece

    ---------------------------------------
    Great comments by Lagat:
    "No, I love the world, I’m a global player – my wife is Canadian and my trainer is Chinese." The 34-year-old Kenyan is an advocate of freedom: "The world should be open to everyone." One of his best friends is a Swabian from southern Germany, Christian Lenk, who has his share of Lagat’s success.
    http://www.berlin2009.org/75-1-310-51-bernard-lagat-born-in-kenya-us-passport-canadian-wife-chinese-trainer-but-his-heart-beats-for-germany.html

  • Comment number 14.

    You are a legend Bolt. My prediction was 19.20. You have beaten my mind's flight by one hundredth of a second. I may have lost that 0.01 sec gawking and pondering perhaps you may be too tired. After all 100m record doubled = 19.16 sec.
    A tired man's world record! You are simply destined to go sub 19 second the day you find yourself fresh. IMO your quest to go 9.4 sec in 100m will have to come later.
    Tom you are a privileged witness to track athletics' meteoric moment.

  • Comment number 15.

    lets just all sit back and marvel at the genius that is usain bolt...am glad am witness to whats happen and i cant wait to welcome bolt and all the other athletes who are making jamaica proud....this is amazing , it haven't even sink in yet, jamaica might lead the world table in gold medal when the world championship end, that in itself is incredible too....

  • Comment number 16.

    I thought I'd seen some amazing and inspirational sporting performances
    in my life, but Bolt has just topped it all. And a gentleman too. Wow.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Will somebody please advise Usain Bolt to run a it slower. I just simply can't follow the guy ... except when I am replaying the run in slow motion.

  • Comment number 19.

    jontyrees - please save your accusations until you have all the salient facts available. Jamaica DOES have its own independent anti-doping agency.

    Bolt is a once in a lifetime talent. It's indescribable. If you take him out of yesterday's race, we'd still have seen someone run sub-20 and not medal. It would've been one of THE great 200m races ever. Now, imagine there's another guy in the race, but 7 or 8m ahead of the others. Oh wait ...

  • Comment number 20.

    BBC seriously lacking sense of humour. Shock!
    BBC- No freedom, no fun!

  • Comment number 21.

    News just in: IAAF (in the spirit of equality) ordered gender tests on all athletes. Surprise result: Usain Bolt is not a man ... but a being from the planet Krypton!

  • Comment number 22.

    "Arms pumping, teeth gritted, face grimacing. The race numbers stuck to his thighs took flight and were left behind. For a quite a while they were in second place." That line alone says it all, great line Tom.

  • Comment number 23.

    I disagree with those who say that Bolt would not be able to transfer to the 400m. Michael Johnson said last night that Bolt's bend was the best he's ever seen, and that's coming from one of the best bend runners ever. That shows that Bolt is much more than just a sprinter, he is a supremely talented runner.

    If Bolt could sustain a 400m pace he would certainly be able to more than compete. Bear in mind that with no training he ran 45.28 two years ago. Since then he has got a lot faster. He only needs to knock two seconds off his untrained, undeveloped time to be absolutely world class. I would never bet against that.

    Amazing race last night, it's difficult to comprehend that no-one in history has got within 0.13 of his 100m time, and 0.12 of his 200m time, incredible.

  • Comment number 24.

    Sensational performance by the lightning Bolt! Down the straight, you could just see that he was focused on that stop watch. What a pleasure to witness this guy run.

  • Comment number 25.

    Bolt is fantastic and a pleasure to watch but all this talk about "these records will never be beaten" is false.

    I imagine every coach in the world will now be trying to encourage taller individuals to take up sprinting, and out of the many that are coached, there will inevitably be some that have the talent (coupled with leg length) to challenge Bolt's amazing times.

    His performances are fantastic but he has broken the traditional sprinter mould, when others with his physique come through and are nurtured his records will be broken.

  • Comment number 26.

    Wonderful piece of history! I made my kids watch and although I think the immensity of it by passsed them, at some point in the future they will realise what went on and can say they saw it happen.

    *THANK GOODNESS THAT SKY (euch) DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHTS TO THIS EVENT*

    Tom - great writing. Very enjoyable - clever without being too clever.

  • Comment number 27.

    yes, the 400m is not a given. Bear in mind he's only about a tenth ahead of what Johnson ever achieved over 200m, and it took him nearly 10 years of top flight 400m running to get down to 43.18.

    BUT ... this is Usain Bolt we're talking about. He ran 45.30 aged 17, back in the days when he was 'only' running 20.1 for 200m. He can definitely get the record but my feeling is that it would take of few years of 'proper' 400m training and that would probably mean having to forego 100m races

  • Comment number 28.

    Are we sure he isn't Clark Kent's cousin? Best rebuild his spaceship and send him back to Krypton to let anyone else have a chance of winning in the next 10 years.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am Welsh, a rugby fan and a lifelong supporter of the Llanelli Scarlets. I also love watching Wales and the British and Irish Lions
    ___________________________________ /

    If you're a rugby fan, why do you waste your time watching so much northern hemisphere rugby when we all know the best rugby in the world is played in the south

  • Comment number 30.

    I didn't expect bolt to break the record after Gay pulled out and bolt said he was tired that he doubted he would break the record. But then again it's bolt; he just seems to make everyone think we went to the moon with Neil and neva came back! because those races where out of this world. So tom, i guess he hasn't spilled his coffee!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Thursday evening the BBC commentator asked us to come up with a suitable name for that special day. I came up with "Thundering Thursday". Could you pass that on somehow? I couldn't find a clear "contact" button on BBC's Athletics Website.

    By the way, Michael Johnson made a comment Thursday evening about Bolt's lack of technique. He complained about Bolt's shoulders "going all over the place" or something like that. I found that very interesting, because when Usain would be instucted to use the right technique...and he would be well rested.....God knows where it would all end. And he's just 23 today. Glad that I'm not someone who has to run against him!

  • Comment number 32.

    After some dark times in sprinting, most recently with Justin Gatlin, it's exactly what the event and athletics in general needed...a massive shot in the arm (uh...no pun intended!)

    Bolt is great for the sport and simply phenomenal.

  • Comment number 33.

    Michael Johnson is undeniably one of the greatest track and field stars of all time. He is a man that knows more about pushing the boundaries of what is possible on an anthletics track then most others and was undoubtably the greatest athlete that I have seen. This was before Usain Bolt.

    In 1996 when he set his 200m world record there were people who said that it would never be broken. Bolt has taken that record torn it up, had that shredded and then re-written it. In doing this he has left the great Johnson speechless and dum founded in the bbc pundits box. Any one who can make Michael Johnson make faces like a goldfish whilst competing in the event that he made his own has to go down as the greatest sprinter of all time.

    People question if he has the indurance to run 400m, but lets not forget he ran 400 for 20 odd yeaers. This man will smash more records that will stand for decades in the 200 and 100 and then I have no doubt that he is capable of doing the same in the 4.

    Someone has questioned if he can already go down with the all time sporting greats. Sprinting right now is the highest standard it has ever been (5 under 10secs in 100 & 5 under 20 secs in the 200). I believe the question is not: is he in with the sporting greats? But: in comparison to his fellow professionals (who are all good right now) is he maybe the greatest sportsman of all time? Another championships like these and for me the answer is undoubtably yes.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'd persuaded myself that there was no way he was going to break the record last night.

    There was no meaningful competition to race alongside him, if only for a short while, and push him hard. No pointed comments from the media and officials about how he should apply himself harder. There was every indication that he was tiring after the monumental effort of the 100 metres. And, possibly worst of all, the intensity, focus and desire required to run faster than ever before seemed lost behind a contented, grinning and playful exterior.

    What had he got left to prove? We already knew he was the greatest athlete any of us had ever seen...

    11.19 seconds.

    I think he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it.

    I think he wanted to prove to the Thursday evening Berlin crowd that he wasn't going to let them down.

    And finally, I think he wanted to prove - because I don't think we've quite got it yet - that when it comes to talking about Usain Bolt we're still some distance away from understanding just how great he is.

  • Comment number 35.

    :o) 19.19 ! It'll be a while before he runs 11.19...

  • Comment number 36.

    Bolt's certainly reignited interest in the sport both with his sonic performances and his affable persona, which is perhaps just as important an achievement. However, in the delirium in the reaction to last night's race, most commentators have overlooked that Alonso Edward ran 19.81s to place second. He's 19. Another jaw dropping achievement which deserves much more credit especially from commentators who should be in the know. At the same stage of his career Bolt had 'only' run 19.88s. Edward's time is an improvement on his PB of 0.81s in the last year alone so he is on course to be challenging Bolt in the next couple of years. Remember who told you.

  • Comment number 37.

    aint read your stuff before Tom, really great blog

  • Comment number 38.

    The best rugby this summer, grattanmc, has been played by the British Lions. The Springboks have a 100% record in the Tri Nations, but were outplayed by the Lions and only won the series because of biased refereeing.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Bolt has redefined the boundaries of what was believed to be humanly possible"

    So had Ben Johnson in 1988............

  • Comment number 40.

    You do understand that after the Bolt era we will have 30 years or more of comparatively dull sprinting. Comentators and public alike will be bemoaning the lack of talent, personality and record breaking compared to the 'Golden Age of Bolt'
    Usain you will have alot to answer for !*

  • Comment number 41.

    "Bolt has redefined the boundaries of what was believed to be humanly possible"

    So had Ben Johnson in 1988............

    As someone said after the 100
    PLEASE PLEASE let this guy be clean ! But I believe he is .. so LETMETELLYOU - don't muddy the waters just to get a response on a blog.

  • Comment number 42.

    He ran this when he was tired. It begs the question - just how fast can he go?

  • Comment number 43.

    Just amazing. I am truly grateful to be around to witness such sporting history.

    The best thing, is that he is by far the most tested Athlete at the games, and he is drug free.

    Fantastic attitude, fantastic family, fantastic man. Jamaica should be proud.

    One love!

  • Comment number 44.

    I know this is wrong but athletics is all too much of a Freak Show for me these days. I look at all these runners, throwers and jumpers and think there is something substantially unnatural about the participants.

  • Comment number 45.

    WOW is all I can say RE Usain Bolt! Just WOW! But I also have to say that the Germans have staged a great event, yet again, and the fans and spectators have been amazing!

  • Comment number 46.

    Excellent article Tom !!

    Perhaps the BBC news team needs to compile a video of Bolt's endeavours with a bit of a dance track in the background with a sample from Paul Hardcastle's '19'.

    And maybe one of the Beeb's science programmes needs to look at his tall and lanky technique. Just amazing.

    Keep up the great writing.

  • Comment number 47.

    I would love to see a program - Maybe a Horizon special or something, on the evolution of the modern sprinter.

    I am more than happy to make this myself if the BBC would like to commission me to fly to Trinidad, The States, Jamaica and have dinner with Linford Christie, Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson, Alan Wells, Calvin Smith, Usain Bolt and others .

  • Comment number 48.

    At some point we would have to define what it takes to be the greatest sprinter of all time. Even if bolt's records are broken in the future,-remember records are set to be broken- i think bolt deserves to be labeled as the greatest of sprinters b'cos of his sheer ability and a determination to deliver when it matters most. He seems to break records whenever he chooses and has never disapointed.

    So it doesn't mean that b'cos bolt's records will be broken by s'one else in the -maybe very distant-future, he would not be appropriate to name him the greatest.

    Before Usain Bolt, i considered Carl Lewis as the greatest even though his record has long been broken.

    So no athlete can surpass bolt by just breaking his record but will have to make all this excitement seem like child's play. He would have to turn the sport, biology, and the world around just as Owens and Lewis did.Just has Usain has done.

    ...and it willtake quiet a while.

  • Comment number 49.

    All that needs saying about Bolt is that we're already talking not about who can catch him but whether he can get the 400m record too... I'd love to see him try a 300m, would be a good way of seeing if he's got what it takes to handle the 400. MJ set a 30.85 at altitude for 300m but the low-altitude WB (not a WR; like 150m it's not a WR distance) is 31.31. If Bolt can go sub-31 at sea level for 300m I think the 400m record could be on...

  • Comment number 50.

    Words are begining to not only fail me but everybody else about how to describe Bolt - i can only say he is a phenom! I have never seen anything like it and the man is only 23 years old, what will he be running come 2012? Like an earlier poster i would have said Carl Lewis was the greatest ever sprinter but for me that title has passed to Bolt, even at this early stage of his senior career. I just dont see him getting beat at 100 or 200m for many years, in the major championships. He is a true inspiration to not only Jamaica but to the world.

    Being of Jamaican parentage I have a close affinity with the country and feel the joy after each astounding feat, the country is jumping right now on speaking with my relatives living there. Not only with Bolt but with the performance of the whole team, as my cousin said "We own dem American Raazz!!"

    I hope for the sake of competition that he gets a challenger, perhaps Tyson Gay can recover from the shock of this week and be that challenge. I think Bolt would want it to, but if he doesnt than i guess Bolt v the clock will be a great watch for many years to come... Roll on London 2012

    Big Up J.A

  • Comment number 51.

    Usain Bolt has apparently quoted that his main aim is to become a legend. I think he needs a new goal. The man has already become a legend. He is without doubt, the biggest thing to have hit athletics ever! Indeed, the magnitude of his feats over the last year or so lead me to confidently state that he is already the biggest thing to hit world sports since The Greatest - the greatest boxer of all time - Muhammad Ali. I'm looking forward to seeing him break the 100m 9.50 seconds barrier and the 200m 19.00 seconds barrier. He will succeed at both!

  • Comment number 52.

    Something that occured to me...he ran the 200m in 19.19. That's an average time of 9.59 per 100m. Assuming he was slowing int he last 20m (which it looked like), he must have run 100m of that race faster than that average, so probably faster than his 100m world record. Does that blow anyone elses mind?

  • Comment number 53.

    My kids are asking me when the next world race is, they actually mean the 4x100m that I told them he'd be running in but they're calling it the "next world record race". I keep trying to explain that it's not a given that he will break the wr and that this is actually quite a rare event but they look at me in puzzlement!

  • Comment number 54.

    I simply wanted to say how wonderful I thought the tv coverage has been. I felt the use of archive world championship footage was a great addition - and how wonderful to hear the voices of David Coleman, Stuart Storey & Ron Pickering again. Steve Cram has really become a very good commentator and I could listen to Paul Dickenson all day. There's a super rapport between all the team and they are just so knowledgable, so experienced and such fun too. Thank you too for the interviews with international stars too, we shall see many of these people in London in a few week's time and it is good to get to know them by way of Phil's interviews.

  • Comment number 55.

    WOW!!! An amazing performance from the "ThunderBolt". Me and my pal were chatting about what he might achieve if he is to perfect his technique; we both know a fair bit about sprinting (we both ran just over 12 seconds in the 100m when at school - you do the math) and we reckon that at the next olympics he'll run the 200m in under 17 seconds.

  • Comment number 56.

    Excellent blog Tom.

    I can't help thinking that the swimsuit he had on under his attire has given him a significant advantage.

    Seriously, I'm looking forward to seeing more gobsmacking moments over the coming years.

  • Comment number 57.

    Robsandy (post 52), your assumption is correct and is perfectly normal.

    All sprinters who double up 100-200 do what you have described: a portion of the 200, usually the 70m to 170m section, is run faster than they would run the 100m. It isn't surprising really: in the 100m the first 15 metres are just to get into your stride, so a fair bit of time is lost. The momentum of the 200 means you hit your top speed for a longer distance.

    This also explains why the 4 x 100 relay record is considerably faster than the 100 m record multiplied by four.

  • Comment number 58.

    Tom, apologies if anyone else has covered this either in this post or elsewhere, but I'm just wondering what you make of Berlino, the mascot? From what I've heard on the TV and radio coverage, in particular from Steve Cram and John Inverdale, he's not a popular chap.

    I think he's brilliant. He's interacting with the athletes, he's getting involved with the crowd, he's joking along with the action (running up and down the home straight during one of the middle/long-distance finals the other night, which drew the ire of Crammy, I seem to remember). Is he a pain or should the commentators and presenters just lighten up? What's the point of having a mascot who doesn't actually 'do' anything?

  • Comment number 59.

    Re#52.

    I had that same though this morning as when MJ's record stood for 200m at 19.32 (set in 1996)that mean't his average was 9.66 per 100m (I know not completely accurate as the 2nd 100m is rolling).

    This time of 9.66 is 0.18 "less" than the then 100m world record of 9.84 held by Donovan Bailey in 1996.

    Now bare in mind that the average of Usain's 19.19 200m set yesterday is 9.595 which is 0.015 seconds "more" than the current 100m record.

    Clearly he has more in the tank for 200m which would suggest that somewhere between 19.0 & 19.05 is plausible!!

    He is a pure beast!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Brilliant run Bolt!

  • Comment number 61.

    I think he might have been struck by lightning refracted through a medicine cabinet full of chemicals at some point. He is the Flash, the fastest man alive.

  • Comment number 62.

    A few people have raised a couple of questions.
    The first is whether Bolt is the greatest sprinter of all time. Surely the answer is yes without question. He has run faster than anyone in history so until someone goes faster, he has to be considered the greatest.
    The second is whether he can break the 400m record. As others have already pointed out, it is no formality, but how can you bet against this guy. Didn't scientists and experts scoff at him going sub 9.6 in the 100. I doubt if anyone seriously predicted what he did with the 200. I imagine most people wouldn't feel comfortable placing a bet against him making the medal table if he tries to runs the 400 next year, so if he really goes for it...

    And to the people (there was a mention of it on here and many mentions on youtube when I checked his 200 re-plays), don't instantly doubt the man and assume drugs. Innocent until proven guilty. Just enjoy the spectacle. It could be a Hailies comet moment.

  • Comment number 63.

    Bolt, Woods, Federer, Manny,Isinbeyeva,Schumacher, Messi etc all phenomenal.

  • Comment number 64.

    For me, the last word on Usain and drugs was from the 606 user who said he's not on drugs 'or at least not the kind that make you run fast'. Pure comedy gold!

    And if he is on drugs, we have still managed to 'enjoy the spectacle', and we can get on with enjoying athletics after a readjustment period in which we come to re-establish the belief that 9.8 for 100m is super-fast.

    Speaking of that and #52 - have we got split times for this 200m? He did a 9.9 for the first 100m in Beijing, I reckon he must have done 9.8 this time.

  • Comment number 65.

    Usain is not running but flying.

  • Comment number 66.

    culopeloso, unfortunately you are just hearing of Usain as it relates to the 400m. In high school Usian never did the 100m rather he did the 200m and 400m. As a 17 year old in high school Usain ran 45.25s to win our high school championship. You tell me did MJ ever run 45.25 at age 17. For those of us who know Usain it is not a fore gone conclusion but a definate possibility.

  • Comment number 67.

    Does anybody else just find it boring knowing who is going to win the race in advance.

    I mean if he ran in in 5 seconds flat, so what?

    The only interesting and entertaining bit is if he does a little dance at the end. But even then, I think Berlino shades it.

  • Comment number 68.

    His next goal in world domination...

    Go back on Top Gear, and beat the Reasonably Priced Car in a quarter mile drag race!

    That race was unbelieveable, he 'slung-shot' out of the bend, and no one was ever near him.

  • Comment number 69.

    Fantastic blog and a great read!

  • Comment number 70.

    Super chat as always. What odds will anyone give me on a word record in the 4x100m?

  • Comment number 71.

    My wife and I were wondering how long it would take for Usain Bolt's record to be broken, which led us to think that he may hold the record until the day he dies. This further led us to ask ourselves how many track and field athletes have actually held a world record at the time of their death. We could only think of Flo-Jo. Can anyone think of anyone else?

  • Comment number 72.

    I think there are two types of runners- those who have short fast legs and are successful due to a lot of strides per distance, and those who have slow long legs and are successful due to large distance covered per stride. Now Mr. Usain 'concorde' Bolt has long legs, which move rapidly, so every world record is at risk. He should try the 400m, 800m, then Marathon, Horse racing, Formula 1, NASCAR. The man takes radio active substances mixed with some lightening, that's the source of his speed. When if retires, he'll be a super hero.

  • Comment number 73.

    My rather tongue-in-cheek reference to whether Bolt's credentials should be checked has fallen foul of the Politburo at BBC HQ for some PC reason I find hard to understand.

    No freedom at he Beeb- no free speech in this great land's national organ of communication.

    Say what you like as long as we like what you say!

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh....guess what folks...? Edward's (Panamian silver medallist in men's 200M) mother is Jamaican...what the hell??? It appears that for success on the track over the shorter distances you need some Caribbean island heritage in you, whether Jamaican (for the sprints) or Barbadian or Trinidadian (for the hurdles)!! The BBC should analyse the performance of the Caribbean region as a whole at these games, versus, say Europe or Africa. Continental North American doesn't count...lol.

  • Comment number 75.

    What a contrast with the "amateur" days, now that they make a living from the sport. Someone who has a skill that's picked up on, who's spotted, gets out of poverty. Whether some want to call them "outliers"/"freaks"/"unnatural"/"not masculine enough/not feminine enough" the bottom line is it's paying the bills (as well as representing a nation).
    Even if some spectators have their favourite events or don't think much of some other events, it's good that someone will pay good money to see the events...the 50K walk...some unique athlete - whether some want to diss an athlete for being or not being photogenic (as if our 9-5 jobs are based on how we look).

    In many places there's no tv commentary career to fall back on so it's all in the here and now. At the end of a short career - no sinecure. As Asafa Powell said many of the athletes have this motivation because there isn't a safety net.
    ""You have to make a living out of it because you don't get a living from anywhere else. You have to go out there and make something of yourself." "
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jul/23/asafa-powell-usain-bolt-london-grand-prix
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/athletics/8166011.stm
    (e.g., Dikembe Mutombo was recruited to basketball - and that success allowed him to build a hospital in his homeland.
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/basketball/nba/08/10/clinton.mutombo.ap/index.html%29
    Chris Gayle (misquoted as he says he was) prefers Twenty20 and who can blame him?
    http://caribbeancricket.com/weblog/?p=4051
    "Million-dollar-winning Stanford Superstars captain Chris Gayle has vowed to use his new windfall to fund treatment for ill members of his family."
    http://www.ecb.co.uk/news/england/stanford/gayle-intends-to-invest-wisely,303085,EN.html
    "One of the great pities about West Indian cricket's era of hegemony was the complete lack of financial reward that came with the success. Playing for pride was all very well, but it could not be perpetuated in a society that forced a distinction between breadwinners and heroes."
    http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/389832.html

    Bolt could've gone into cricket. Good he didn't - considering the monies in track!
    (Was it the 1500m winner Kamel, in his interview, who asked that the authorities look after a promising athlete coming through in Australia?)

    Heard vaguely of a potential tennis star in west Africa - wonder how much talent goes unnoticed all over? the tenuous, the what-ifs? The likes of a Michael Holding who did the 400m before cricket(not that he should've done track - just an example).

    In interview, think Melaine Walker said she didn't like the high hurdles? but it's certainly something she does well.

    Have a sense that many of our stars are from the rural schools - even if transferring later to corporate area schools - certainly the environment/the need to get ahead (if a skill is spotted) counts for much.

    Great to see the spread of the medals table. And the athletes from the WI and elsewhere who're doing so well (e.g., Panama in 200m, Trinidad in 400m, Barbados in sprint hurdles and the young cuban team). Also the new stars rising in Jamaica.
    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sports/html/20090307T230000-0500_147252_OBS_MURPHY_CLOCKS_BREATHTAKING_______AT_TRIALS.asp
    http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090502/sports/sports7.html

  • Comment number 76.

    What´s amazing to me is the fact that the blue track of the Berlin Olympic Stadium was said to be slow - according to two terrific World Records of Usain Bolt it´s obviously not true or how can it be?
    After the legendary "JO" (= Jesse Owens) Berlin is closely connected with another sprinting wonder.

  • Comment number 77.

    It is really thrilling to see how passionate the world is and how captivated people are by Usain Bolt. The is truly an incredible athlete, someone who has pushed the boundaries of human existence, forget everything that we thought once physically impossible.

    Only in years to come will we fully realise the enormity of the feats he achieved. Usain is someone whom I have had the pleasure of watching his career grow over the last 6 years. He has a relentless appetite for excellence coupled with fearlessness, which leads me to make the following statements without bias.

    He actually started out running the 400m and I know the transition won't be easy, but bet your last dollar that he will conquer that event too, and set a new world record in the near future. ..Oh yes Don't be surprised when he breaks the long jump record also..

    In closing ...he has decimated the 100m and the 200m and we will never live in our life time to see any of those records broken unless it is by Sir Usain Bolt himself.

 

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.