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The inside track on the Usain sensation

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Tom Fordyce | 12:37 UK time, Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Ever since Sunday night, there's only one thing anyone in Berlin has been talking about: Usain Bolt.

On trains, in bars, on the streets - everyone wants to discuss that incredible race, how he did it and what he could do next.

Of course, when it comes to talking sprinting genius, some conversationalists are more interesting than others - which is why I made a beeline for four-time Olympic gold medallist and eight-time world champion Michael Johnson.

Here are his considered thoughts.


"I actually didn't know what he would run. You take what you know he is capable of doing and then what he's done so far this year, but it's still hard to say.

"You look at some athletes and you know that a big final and being excited is worth something, but for him you don't know what motivates him. He always seems to be so relaxed, so you don't know if adrenaline really flows for him when he starts to run. He's a different type of athlete."


"It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It's different from his 9.69 seconds last year because he shut down 30m from the finish and still ran a world record, but I've never seen a performance like it before.

"I don't think there are very many words to describe the race. It was simply amazing."

Usain Bolt


"He's 6ft 5in. Traditionally, for an athlete of that height, it's very hard for them to get out of the blocks quickly. He doesn't get out of the blocks quickly compared to the other athletes, but conventional logic would suggest that he would be far, far behind coming out of the blocks. Yet he's able to get out with the other athletes. Relative to the result of the field, he's average coming out of the blocks, which is amazing in itself.

"Once he gets out of his blocks and out of his drive phase and upright, he takes 40 steps for the entire race, where most of the others are taking in the mid-40s.

"He has such a massive stride, he's able to cover so much ground, and his cadence is the same as the stockier guys - take that entire combination and you have something unbeatable.

"That's why at 20m he's right there with everyone else and then he starts to just separate from the field, because he gets so much more out of each step than they do. It's basic maths. The key is that he is able to cover so much more ground so much more quickly than the other runners."


"I wouldn't know where to start to say what he's capable of doing. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

"Where do you start? Do you say he's run 9.58 at such a young age, that he could run 9.4 - who knows?

"The only way to make these kind of predictions is to look at what the bar was for an athlete like him in the past, but there has been no athlete like him in the past.

"His peak? It's difficult to say where he's going to go from here and what's going to motivate him, if he's going to burn out, what his focus is going to be, what his injuries might be like, but at the moment, he has no limits."


"I would ordinarily say that's what always happens when someone goes out and sets a mark, but there are two things to consider here.

"Sometimes there's a little bit of a lag - for example in the 200m when I ran 19.3, it was several years until athletes started running 19.5 and 19.6. That could happen in this case.

"And what happens a lot of the time is that the record is put so far out there that athletes start to see it as an anomaly - 'yeah, but that was Michael', or 'yeah, but that was Usain - he's different.'

"That'll be the most interesting thing moving forward from here - what will the other athletes do, how will they find their motivation and how do they solve that themselves."


"People can start throwing numbers out there if they want, but they're just pulling those numbers out of anywhere.

"You can't predict what he's going to do, because there is no model to go from. You can't say, 'this person did this' - for him, there is no-one like him, there never has been anyone like him."


"He has to be the greatest ever at this point because he is Olympic champion, world champion and he's shown that he's able to do it again.

"There's nothing to suggest that he won't continue to amaze. If he had gone to Beijing and we never saw anything like that again, it would act as a disclaimer - a great performance at the Olympics but unable to replicate it ever again - but he's shown now that he can repeat and he's here to stay.

"In this era there has been no-one else who has made an impact like him. And, going into the future, his potential influence on sport is even greater than what we've seen so far."


  • Comment number 1.

    I read elsewhere on the BBC pages that he actually slowed down during the last 20 metres and wasn't the quickest out of the blocks either. That would seem to suggest that he is capable of at least 9.4 but I am also interested in how quick a human can possibly run 100m. Surely there are physical limitations to what a human can achieve and I wonder if Bolt will reach that limit. Can anyone imagine someone running sub 9 secs?
    When Ben Johnson ran 9.79 and was disqualified, I remember thinking would anyone ever actually beat that time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Will the Americans respond to the Bolt-Enigma by bringing tot he athletics scene a former basketball player converted to sprinting for example?

  • Comment number 3.

    again, very good article.

  • Comment number 4.

    If it is a question of maths, he gets out of the blocks the same as the rest, his cadence is similar but his stride is longer. Surely it should be possible to calculate how fast he can get.
    You then add marginal improvements on his start and cadence and get to the 100 m record limit for a person of his size.
    Or has simple maths nothing to do with it?

  • Comment number 5.

    The fear is that the others will "juice" to compete.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is it just me, or has Michael Johnson precious little to say? Look at these quotes: "I actually didn't know what he would run.", "I wouldn't know where to start to say what he's capable of doing. I wouldn't even know where to begin.", "His peak? It's difficult to say where he's going to go from here", "You can't predict what he's going to do". That to my mind is not what an analyst is paid for. So much for Tom's comment that "some conversationalists are more interesting than others"....

    The only time Michael comes off the fence is for the last question. And to my mind, Usain Bolt has still got a heck of a lot to do to beat Michael Johnson as the greatest ever. Michael was a double Olympic champion, a double World Champion and took the 200m record down by 3/10 second, which for me is comparable to the success that Usain Bolt has had so far. And Johnson was around for a lot longer than Bolt has been. I'm not saying that Bolt won't at some point be considered the greatest ever, but when you consider all the great athletes that have gone before him, he still has a lot to prove.

  • Comment number 7.

    Cactus - I think the juice may be out of the bottle already.
    I'm vaguely quoting stats I half remember from another blog but Bolt has lowered the record in his short career by the same amount as it was lowered in the last 40 odd years.
    Does nobody even suspect that he may be on the odd chemical suplement? I'd love to be wrong but the last 20 years of 100m sprinting do not exactly give you much in the way of grounds for optimism...

  • Comment number 8.

    @BarnesB25 - I think the problem is what "marginal improvements" are possible? For example I think I saw that Bolt's quickest 20m was around 1.61s (may be wrong) - how do you assess what marginal improvement can be achieved?

  • Comment number 9.

    Waldo0- Come on, check Bolt's history of track achievements. He is natrually fast/talented from early teens. He's from a rural part of Jamaica that is isolated from regular vehicle(maybe not now); hence "walk or run" everywhere. Merlene Ottey(most decorated athlete in history)& Veronica Campbell all from the same place in Jamaica.
    Check your history mate...

    Peace & one love.

  • Comment number 10.

    WaldoO - The drug tests they do now are relentless. Especially for the people who set records and won medals so that they can be validated. I think sometimes we need to sit back and marvel at the phenomenon that is Bolt. Rarely do sporting geniuses grace us and when people such as Phelps, Armstrong and Bolt enter the sporting arena, let us embrace them as careers end too soon and they become resigned to the record books.

  • Comment number 11.

    he's one of...if not THE most tested athlete on earth. its no wonder why, he keeps breaking records with apparent ease. but he does get tested, its all natural.

    most tall men struggle with sprints, but he seems to have the perfect build.

  • Comment number 12.

    Woah.. easy guys. Like I said I'd love to be wrong. Bolt seems a really nice guy, but so do all the others until they get caught.

    Hope he's genuine but I guess I'm just a little jaded.

  • Comment number 13.

    Waldo0, he is so far ahead because he is very tall, something never seen before in sprinting.

    Despite everyone correcting you with facts, you persist in being sceptical? For no reason, whatsoever.

    Everyone else sees Bolt for what he is - a legendary sportsman that has made the impossible possible

  • Comment number 14.

    Well Kapnag, no offence, but with regard to the facts that should have had me throwing my hands up in despair at the naivety of my arguments:

    1 I imagine Ben Johnson, Dwain Chambers & Tim Montgomery were fairly quick when they were younger as well.

    2 Height doesn't automatically make you a great sprinter, other wise Martin Bayfield would have had a legendary sprinting career once he had retired from international rugby

    3 Relentless drug tests only test for drugs that people know about. If it's not part of the test, it won't be picked up.

    Don't mean to go on about this but being sceptical is perfectly legitimate....

    I refer you again to the point that I would love to be proved wrong.

  • Comment number 15.

    For short whut i will say that, Usain Bolt is the Micheal Jordan in NBA.He is such an incredible peace of machine, nobody can much him at the moment.

    kwabena, a fun of Bolt

  • Comment number 16.

    FFMexpat - I should give you some context to MJ's comments - when he was saying "I just don't know" etc, he was shaking his head with wonder and disbelief. What he's saying is that, with Bolt, it's almost impossible to predict anything - Usain makes a mockery of logic.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hey guys I think you should lay off Waldo0. Spectators have been cheated on so many occassions in so many sports we need to be skeptical. If people weren't it would be impossible to 'clean up' sports.

    The Tour de France, Rugby, Football, Athletics, Baseball, American Football have all had drugs cheats and I would imagine that new performance enhancing drugs are being developed all the time - why wouldn't they. I heard a rumour that Bolt eased down in the Olympic final as he was offered a huge some of money to break the record in the World Championships. With huge money deals being bandied around I'm sure unscrupulous people are developing new performance enhancing drugs that aren't currently being tested for.

    I'm not saying for a moment that Bolt is using anything. It was an amazing race and I'm glad I could see it. However you can't blame someone for questioning the validity of his performance. I'm sure someone once said Ben Johnson running 9.79 was amazing.

    On a lighter note maybe was should have a separate athletics meet for people who are using performance enhancing drugs. Who wouldn't want to see someone running 100m in 5.4 seconds or throw a javelin 213 metres? Sell the TV rights globally, it could be huge.

    Sad thing is, thats probably true.

  • Comment number 18.

    Usain's build isn't one of a steroid user for sure - if he's on something, it's something incredibly strange that's been undetected so far. And frankly, 9.58 is impressive even if he is on drugs...

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    I just dont get it. Why cant we just acknowledge The bolt for what he is instead of conjuring up all these theories? Just asking!

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    At 1:24pm on 19 Aug 2009, ImperialEnergy wrote:

    Will the Americans respond to the Bolt-Enigma by bringing tot he athletics scene a former basketball player converted to sprinting for example?

    Easily the silliest comment on this thread. Firstly they are hugely different sports and secondly how is a former basketball player going to keep up with a 22 year old sprinter?

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi, I read the article, then all of the comments from people, and it led me to setting up an account to say something myself, forgotten what it was now, oh, thats right,

    Firstly, good on you Waldo for playing devils advicate, someone needs to in life, and fair play the other person for backing him up.

    Equally, I think it is fair to recognise what Bolt has done, either way he ran a quick hats off for the being the first person to do that. I remember seeing Ben Johnson do his thing and also had the thought, wow - who could ever beat that...but then I thought, that someone eventually will...athletics is such a sport that it is designed to constantly raise the bar, (take the high jump for example)...

    No seriously, I agree with a lot of what has been said here, looking at it from both sides, you can see both arguements. One day someone will run under 9 seconds, its inevitable, isnt it called evolution(?)

    I like the idea of having a drug cool would it be to see extreme achievements like lifting a big rock above your head whilst running for 52 miles, and at the same time dribbling a football?

    It would never happen, but would be a good film!
    Where is Adam Sandler?

  • Comment number 24.

    Hey guys. Never mention that naughty lab in San Fran, were superb athletes got even more superber. If you do, the long arm of BBC moderation will remove ones post. Lol. Are we all suppose to pretend it never happened Mr BBC. I will follow like a lamb then shall i? What a brilliant performance! Outstanding sprinter. Amazing and natural ability. He can run under 8.6 i believe. Probably because he eats the right foods and lives in close proxity to the ocean. Yeah right. The tounge in my cheek is nearly making me feel all queasy.

  • Comment number 25.

    The only thing that would worry me about the drug thing is the entire Jamaican sprint team are doing exceptionally well. I don't think the athletes would risk it but a new cocktail given in drinks by highly paid team doctors isn't unheard of.

    Personally I think the times will get faster. A mix on new physical understanding could mean that a taller more slender athlete muscles can be trained to more explosive levels than previously thought. Bolt has changed the rulebook in that sense and I can see much taller athletes coming through.

    The other things will be technology. Shoes & tracks are more friendly nowadays and they should result in faster times

  • Comment number 26.

    Very hard to credit that sprinters from Jamaica could be so much better than all others. Not into the sport, however I wouldnt be surprised if something was discovered...I was interested in that Sport when Sonia O'Sullivan was cheated out of an Olympic medal by 3 Chinese women who sometime later were found to be on some wierd substances. After that I just gave up on Athletics ( as also with Bicycle Racing..again this years Tour de France, despite everything)....Sorry I just cant believe that guy Bolt is for real !!

  • Comment number 27.

    look guys i think ShinyDavidHowell hit the nail on the head look at athletes that have been caught using steroids i.e chambers, Montgomery ect. then compare there build to bolt it just doesn't make sense. also i can believe what neilosleeman was saying about some large amount being offered to bolt to slow down so he can break the WR again, for example the world champs is one of few international comps (unlike the Olympics) that offers prize money for both placing in an event and breaking the world record so at the moment usain is sitting on $160,000 from just the 100 and could potentially get $320,000 after the 200. then u add sponsorship rewards ect ect and by the end of the champs he could of earned $500,000 from this one event, so it is in his interest to run fast. also i think Waldo0 is right to be sceptical because if we look back to 2005 we had who was thought to be one of the then saviour of athletics Justin Gatlin and we all know how that ended...... my only fear is that if (and that is a huge if) bolt was to be found to be cheating the I.A.A.F would cover it up as in my view it would completely kill off any trust people have left in athletics.

  • Comment number 28.

    The JA team does well at sprints - always did/always has/always will. Sprints. Yeah, we should broaden our scope (there are, at times, a few field event medallists) but the thing many want to do is sprints. I don't see any country with the likes of CHAMPS. Maybe they have it but I haven't heard of the like. Donovan Bailey and others come down to watch it and its future stars. (Think Bolts time at 15yo was better than Johnsons at 20yo. He was already special from those days.)

    Why is it hard to believe that JA produces sprinters? Our athletes don't get burnout by going off and running in the US collegiate system anymore. UTech, GC Foster college, etc have enough resources...indeed, from other nations, Kim Collins, Germaine Mason, Simeon Williamson have come out there to train.

    We expect Kenya, Ethopia, Morocco, Algeria to have lomg distance runners. (BTW, the one positive test in Berlin so far was a long distance runner wasn't it?)
    We expect Brasil to produce footballers.
    We expect UK to have yachtspeople, fencers, cyclists, middle class sportsfolk, etc.
    We expect Jamaica to produce sprinters - even exporting them to US, Canada, etc. The incentive to do well at it is great (there's no pampering/no welfare state/no lottery funding). It's a way out - look at the list of athletes from RURAL areas. Asafa may have been less than diplomatic but can understand where the "lazy" comment is coming from.

    I don't see the same interest in athletics here as in the West Indies. There's more obesity here. Not as much into PE maybe? Enough other sports/leisure activity?

    In some respect, not sure cricket is as big a deal in WI (not many retired cricketers back there have got much after retiring, it's not like CBU tv has a facility anything like Sky tv...retired guys might not expect much...Chris Gayle has a point to look more into that 20twenty thingy where the money is)

    Does UK have an equivalent to JA's coaches like Stephen Francis, Glen Mills or the late Herb McKinley? Or the US's Bob Kersee? (Many of the US athletes in Berlin are coached by Kersee.)
    Bingham is the one quarter miler from GB team that's got through (managed/advised by Johnson) - perhaps you need more people like Michael Johnson to help the athletes.

    Whatever people say about JA - either way - it's a dash good result whether you think we're "juiced" or no!

    Where are the GB sprinters? all aged...where are the ones coming through? Yet, look at CHAMPS any year...because who's to say...Bolt isn't the only JA athlete looking to 2012 - anything could happen. Find the next Alan Wells!

  • Comment number 29.

    Why is it hard to think sprinters from Jamaica could be so much better? Is there a ringfencing of ability to the 1st world and the likes of Loughborough University?

    When has Jamaica ever NOT done well at sprints? Either in producing them or exporting them? When do people, who're new to track and field, think that Jamaica "suddenly" started producing 100m, 200m and 400m runners? 1930? 1940? 1960? 2008?
    Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, Leslie Laing, George Kerr, Cynthia Thompson, Una Morris, Keith Gardner, Donald Quarrie, Marilyn Neufville, Audrey Reid, Michael Fray, Lincoln Belcher, Sandi Richards (now US), Gregory Haughton, Beverly McDonald, Raymond Stewart (think on world stage just after leaving Camperdown High School), Winthrop Graham, late Lennox Miller (whose daughter Inger Miller represented US), Velma Charlton, Rosie Allwood, Andrea Bruce, Jackie Pusey,Bert Cameron, Merlene Ottey,Juliet Cuthbert,Grace Jackson, Deon Hemmings,Juliet Campbell,Sandra Farmer-Patrick (later US),..... this years winners from CHAMPS should be seen in 2012.

    Has anyone looked at the times out of CHAMPS? Gibson Relays? Penn Relays? The green, gold and black has been quite visible at most major track and field meets for decades. With emphasis on track - we're not as big into field events...everybody wants to be the next DQ (Donald Quarrie)...there's something about the 200m for us...and a tradition from McKinley and co through to Bert Cameron that we do the quarter mile...though that's fallen off recently.

    No one questions the brit tradition in rowing. It's what excites you.
    For lots of us it's track and, lesserly, football (for some other islands and for the older generation that came to UK it's cricket - though you don't see the younger generation born in UK much into it...suspect it's a dying thing in WI but maybe mine's a biased opinion there though Manley too bemoaned its demise)
    People like football but there's not the resource to field 11 talented players - anymore than Wales can. There may be one good individual but not enough. Similarly, cricket and WICBC politics, a guy might not make it into the WI team / island politics / not as much control over his destiny as in an individual thing - like track (or basketball in US)

    "According to Teddy McCook, a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations council and secretary general of the Jamaican Olympic Committee, Champs -- which this year drew 191 schools and more than 2,500 athletes, not to mention more than 80,000 spectators over four days -- is one of the biggest junior track and field meets in the world."

    "Last year Jazeel Murphy, aged 15, ran 100m in 10.42sec. Compare that time to Mark Lewis Francis's English schools record of 10.93sec – also aged 15 – and you begin to understand the depth of talent Jamaica has waiting in the wings."

    “While I am training real hard and focused on what I have to do, I have to admit a bit of my heart and my attention will be in Kingston this week for the Jamaican high school championships (April 1-4) and on my high school Vere Technical.

    “‘Champs’ as we call it is very dear to all us Jamaican athletes as this was where we got our first taste of big time track and field, where we ran rounds for the first time and were watched by thousands of very loud spectators.

    “What are my fondest memories of Champs? Wow! My years competing at “Champs” were awesome … there are so many memorable moments: The anticipations, the vigorous training sessions, the extreme competitions, the thrills of winning, the joy of celebrating my school’s victories, also the cheers and energy of the thousands of supporters.

    “I must point out that I am particular thankful for all my victories and experiences at the Boys and Girls Championship, every bit of my hard work have paid off. If you can compete at “Champs” you can compete anywhere!

    So, Ja doing well at track is nothing new. It's a surprise that anyone's surprised. Just look for the new names coming through (not what's at Berlin now) and see if you spot them in 2012 as a few of those now in Berlin would've retired by time of Olympics / next World Champs.

  • Comment number 30.

    Allanskillcole...well said. I mean, one can't prevent Waldo from being skeptical, but at some point, logic must take over. And you have made the point well. Lamine Diack, the IAAF president, could probably tell you all about Bolt, Waldo. He insisted that he had to watch Bolt storm to victory in 200M at the 2002 IAAF World Juniors in Kingston, Jamaica, despite having a flight to catch out of Kingston, because he understood Bolt's raw talent. And he did not disappoint then. Bolt is not just a phenomenon today. He's been doing it for the last 7 years. The thing is that the world never took Jamaican athletics as seriously as it should have before now. As Allanskillcole said, "Champs", the high school championships, is the biggest track and field event in Jamaica and the Caribbean every year. People travel from all over the world for it, and not just Jamaicans. The national stadium, which holds 33,000 people, is jammed full EVERY YEAR. We take track and field seriously, in the same way Americans worship baseball and 'football'. And we know our history, better than you. That's why Jamaicans do not wonder about Bolt, Powell or the rest of the champions. It's not just blind patriotism. We know. And we have spent years watching our stars place second and third to juiced-up East German and American women. As we see it, once the drugging got cleaned up, we started winning.

    And we have fed the rest of the world with our sons and daughters...just ask Sanya Richards, who even after winning yesterday, embraced her Jamaican birth and upbringing, despite running in an American uniform.

  • Comment number 31.

    Thanks Patch_jm

    I sometimes wonder how much success Grace Jackson, Juliet Cuthbert and others would've achieved but for running against Katrin Krabbe and some others whose WRs will never(?) be broken.
    Imagine if our athletes were caught doing something untoward, imagine the result. Remember how some cricketer who came back from then apartheid South Africa, fled to the US, after that "rebel" tour?

    As Ato Boldon says about CHAMPS:
    "I think this is the purest track meet in the world. This is not about money. It's not about shoe contracts. It's not even about country. It's about representing your family, your school and all the alumni. So I think that's why it has become my favorite track meet -- even including the Olympics.

    Folks, have a look at the names and the times at this years CHAMPS - so that in 3 years time there's no query about where they "suddenly" came from.

    (Funny how well we can do in other areas; we show the americans up when our Spelling Bee champion goes up against theirs and theirs is older.
    And "Schools Challenge Quiz" - the standard is very good. Paxman would fit in well as the questioner...though he's got nothing on the late Dennis Hall. For a small nation, for the halycon days when the economy was ok, what (more) could've been acheived...)

    It really is surprising how little facilities/enthusiasm there is over here for track compared to back home. For a place of 50+ million, where are the sprinters? How much sports is there in the school system? When Devonish and co retire who's left? How deep is the talent pool?

    Would anyone dare to question GBs prowess in rowing? Or the testing regime over here? No, because they invented everything and are the best at everything? Thing is people need to take the beam out of their own eyes before looking at the speck in someone elses.

    If one extends the "logic" of niches that folks like/have an aptitude for: funny how Brits do so well at rowing? african athletes dominate the long distances? americans do well at baseball (something that actually interests them and is a national sport), Russia and ex-soviet states at chess (modern England, post-Staunton, didn't break through there in recent times till firstly the late Tony Miles), the scandinavians at winter sports/slalom/skiing stuff, australians/americans e.g., Phelps at swimming...what gives?

    If we start producing Filbert Bayis and Africa starts producing Roger Kingdoms and UK starts producing a Davis cup team, maybe we can say the world is upside down...but not yet! Or if there's a pool of Lapentiti brothers or Williams sisters in UK? Till then, be happy.

    Then again, we got the medals whatever people want to say. Even if folks want to think it's a "by any means necessary" job or one nations "juice" is better than anothers, so be it.
    As that Rhett Butler charcter spouted "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damne". Maybe that's what needs to be tossed to the doubters.

    Walk good, all.

  • Comment number 32.

    LoL... this is all amazing to here u people talk... In a different situation Jamaica would be this third world country with limited resources and expertise...

    Now because Jamaica has an athlete that has been proving since he was 15 (running 19.95... that many ur european athletes can't run) that he wasn't normal... He trains right at home in jamaica running on a grass track with bumps and divots... Y'all now are in essence suggesting that jamaica has the technology to produce drugs that all the harvard, oxford and cambridge trained scientist at the Iaaf can't detect and he has been taking them since he was 15...

    The people who actually follow athletics marvel at what he has done but are not surprised by Mr Lightening Bolt... He has been showing this for years... If u ever get the chance look at the Jamaica high school athletic scene u have 18yr old high school kids already running 10.5... they all on drugs?

  • Comment number 33.

    Some names out of CHAMPS to look out for, hopefully 2012.

    Dexter Lee (even now, his 10.31 would've pipped Darvis Patton in 100m final!),
    Nickel Ashmeade, Keiron Stewart, Ramone McKenzie

    Some results

    "Jazeel Murphy - teen Bolt
    Bridgeport HIGH'S Jazeel Murphy is the fastest 15-year-old athlete
    this year.
    Murphy, who hails from Spanish
    Town, St Catherine, ran a blistering 10.42 seconds to win the Boys Under-17 100m at the CARIFTA Trials at Stadium East recently"
    "Leon Mann of the BBC said that he now understands what is happening in Jamaica to result in the kind of success the athletes have achieved. He thought that the experience would silence the cynics and those who contributed the success of the athletes to drugs.
    Public relations manager of track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, Laura Arcolio, said ‘Champs’ could rival many international meets.
    Mattias Schneider of the Stern Magazine out of Germany who covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said in all his travels, he had never had such an experience especially in track and field. He said it was by far the best he had seen."

    "Boldon hooked on Champs
    "My concern is getting them all the way," the 35-year-old retired sprinter said. "I ran with a young lady called Nikole Mitchell (of Jamaica) who was world junior champion the same year that I was, in 1992. There is no way you could have told me at that point that she was not going to be the next 'fill in the blanks'."
    Mitchell won the 100m in Seoul, 1992 and was a relay bronze medallist at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. But she was troubled by injuries early in her senior career.
    Boldon, who has personal best times of 9.86 seconds for 100m and 19.77 over 200m, said the Caribbean, including his homeland, has to figure out why some of these really good athletes are falling by the wayside.
    Getting burnt out
    "Are they getting burnt out? Is it too much pressure at this point? Are they being over-raced? And I say all that as someone who did not get into this sport until I was 16 and then had a very long career. "

  • Comment number 34.

    I must say as a young Jamaican who living in Jamaica sees so much happening around him on a daily basis that I am not proud of, must admit that I am Proud of the achievements of our athletes. I understand the skepticism of some individuals. After all, it is only natural to question what we do not understand.

    I would challenge anyone who is not convinced that these athletes are capable individuals of doing what they have done without drugs to make a trip to the National Stadium in Kingston Jamaica, to see so many young stars who over the next couple of years will also rise to take their place and of course criticism.

    Usain Bolt did not rise over night, he first rose at the National Stadium a couple of years ago, we all as Jamaicans watched him prove himself over and over again. That is why I ams many Jamaicans do not question his ability. He has been breaking and re-setting records for several years.

    As 'alanskillcole' said, you just need to visit BOYS AND GIRLS CHAMPS in Kingston Jamaica which is normally held the end of March to the beginning of April to fully grasp that when it comes to SPRINTS and exceptional SPRINTERS, they are there shinning from the age of 12 and they grow and learn to prove themselves overtime to Jamaica and as the case of Usain, Veronica, Kerron, Shelly-Ann, to the WORLD over time.

    It is okay if one find it hard to believe that he (Usain) can do what he does without the use of some drug that he found on Mars (cause that must be where the drug that he is using is from) but if you really want to understand, you just do some research on boys and girls champs in Jamaica and the records that the young Jamaicans have been setting. It makes me sad to know that so many of them have faltered along the wayside but it makes me even more overjoyed for the ones who have made it.

    Jah Bless

  • Comment number 35.

    Obviously the above comments are not real. Tom Fordyce is the author of them all; he has added them as an extension of his initial blog piece to keep us enthralled, and keep us coming back to his blog. Given the timing of his contributions he must be on drugs to write at all hours - caffeine at the very least, and possibly amphetimines.
    Using the same evidence and analytical methods of Waldo0 (argument from silence, no empirical evidence, insinuation, speculation) my case is conclusively proven.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think it may have been mentioned already, but Bolt doesn't have the build of someone you'd associate with steroid taking. He's too slight. To me, he almost seems too good to be on any kind of banned substance. 9.58 is an incredible time, 9.4 would be even better. And there is only one person who will reach it in our lifetime...

    Think this was also mentioned on the Athletics the day after. Sure I heard he has (or is rumoured to have) the same power output in his strides as Maurice Greene. Bolt stands at 6'4/5'', biomechcanically (sp?) it makes sense...Longer stride over a distance x power output of a 5' 10'' former WR holder = perhaps the most dominant sprinter we'll see.

  • Comment number 37.

    Will Lightning Strike Again..... ???


    That lightening bolt
    Gave us quite a jolt
    To push us on to achieve
    Beyond all if we dare to believe

    We can accomplish anything
    If we to it our hard work bring
    Even having less than nothing
    Can’t stop us receiving our bling

    Or whatever it is we desire
    Is accessible by ferocity of the fire
    We apply to what was once ever so dry
    Can fuel future exploits if only we’d try....

    HEART FELT Seb de Bard

  • Comment number 38.

    Slightly off-topic maybe I know, but as I'm a self-confessed BBC fanboy I'm hoping you guys will put together another montage celebrating Usain Bolt's astonishing running in Berlin along the lines of the one you did for last year's Olympics entitled "Usain Bolt leaves his mark on Beijing."

    Superbly soundtracked to Eric B & Rakim's classic rap cut "Follow the Leader" I thought it was a flawlessly edited montage which distilled the sheer energy and excitement of The Lightning Bolt's electrifying performances - in itself it was worth at least two-thirds of my licence fee! It was a superb piece of creative editing (a loud shout out to whoever put it together!) and I played it addictively until you took it off your website. Can you make it available again for a short while plus a new one for Berlin?!! - I'm just getting greedy now but seriously I thank my lucky stars that we have a media organisation of the quality of the BBC in this country - like Usain Bolt you leave the competition trailing hopelessly in your wake.

  • Comment number 39.

    The attitude I, and I suspect many others, take is that Bolt is an amazing athlete, but that so many sprinters have been on drugs, and his achievements are so spectacular, that one simply cannot be sure. Maybe it is that he is a new type of tall sprinter -- just as Michael Johnson had a new and unorthodox technique -- but maybe not. Anybody who says they are sure either way is letting their emotions get the better of them. But if over the next ten years he continues to be tested frequently and no evidence emerges of drug taking, then I will probably cautiously give him the benefit of the doubt. I wish it were possible to celebrate his achievements in a more straightforward and innocent way.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'd also make the point that any arguments to the effect that Bolt was a stunningly talented athlete as a teenager are irrelevant. He would have to be a stunningly talented athlete to run 9.58 and 19.19 even if he was on drugs. (Just to be clear, this is not an argument for his guilt -- just pointing out that one of the commonly given arguments for his innocence is flawed.)


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