Monday, August 18, 2008

Bolt upstages Phelps

I never would have thought someone could upstage Michael Phelps winning his eighth gold medal at the Olympics, but Usain Bolt’s incredible 100-meter dash last Saturday did just that. Wow!
The guy blew away the fastest runners on the planet, broke the world record by .3 seconds and did it without even trying very hard. He didn’t even run all the way through the finish line!! About 15 meters short of the finish he started to let up and just coasted the rest of the way. Like a football player starting to do his celebratory dance before crossing the goal line, Bolt was already starting to pound his chest and acknowledge the crowd before the race was even over.
But it didn’t even matter. He still shattered the world record and made all the other runners who gave everything they had look like they were in the wrong event. Incredible!
He probably could have shaved another half second off the world record if he had kept running at full pace, but he didn’t care. Like he said at the end of the race, all he was concerned about was winning. It was his world record to begin with.
How did he do it? One clue is that the guy stands 6’ 8” and thus his stride is longer than all the other runners. Usually that is a hindrance for a sprinter, but not for Bolt. You can see his legs churning at the same pace as the other runners, but he gains an extra foot with each step.
I predict that in the next 10 years or so you will see the average height of sprinters steadily climb until 6’ 8’’ becomes the average rather than the exception.

I was ticked last night after watching the women’s gymnastics in the individual vault competition. Alicia Sacaramone of the U.S. was clearly robbed of a medal by the judges who scored the Chinese gymnast higher despite landing her first vault on her knees.

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