Much has been said, and all has been done.
With the London Olympics Games coming to a scintillating end, there were many stories of successes and failures that have left indelible imprints on the sands of time, and would be remembered and told for a really long time to come. We saw the rise of heroes, prominent among them Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Ye Shiwen, and David Rudisha, among many others. We saw the fall of heroes, like Yelena Isinbayeva, Liu Xiang, Morgan Uceny, and more. This Olympic Games gave us the highest ever number of medals in our history, opening the doors to a brighter future in Indian sports. And it also provided for a humble platform for Michael Phelps, undeniably the greatest ever Olympian, to announce his retirement.
But as far as I am concerned, the most glorious and eye-catching achievement has been that of one man – USAIN BOLT.
Before coming to London to “achieve greatness” and “become a legend”, Usain Bolt was subjected to much criticism, with the detractors putting a question mark over his longevity and his capabilities. After the false start fiasco in the world championships at Daegu last year, with the memory still fresh in people’s minds (including that of Bolt himself), people had questioned his appetite for success and had started hailing his compatriot, the young Yohan Blake as the true heir to the Carl Lewis legacy.
True, Yohan Blake may be the next big thing, but not for now. It was, it is, and for some more time to come, it will definitely be the Lightning Bolt’s time. At the apogee of his greatness, it was profanity on the part of the non-believers to question the greatness of the Man. And as they say, actions speak louder than words. What better way to shut the detractors up than by retaining the crowns of the treble of 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, and in the process becoming the first ever man to achieve this glory of “double treble”. And not just carrying forward the legacy of Carl Lewis, but carving a niche for himself, with the hope that it will be safeguarded for some time to come, before another Bolt comes and conquers it. Who knows, it could the same guy we were talking about before – Yohan Blake!
But now, it is all about Bolt. The giant Colossal like figure, standing high in the arena of athletics, has aptly called himself a legend, and the greatest ever athlete, after his historic world record finish in the relay of the London Olympics. And know this, there are skeptics out there who are always there to counter his greatness, and to blast him for his self-glorification. But he need not worry, for what greatness hasn’t seen detractors? The Great is one who overcomes these denigrations, and rises above all. And that is what Usain Bolt has precisely done. Among the long list of such people is Carl Lewis himself, who has questioned the drug-testing techniques being implemented in Jamaica, where, he claims, athletes can go months before being tested. Such comments, coming from such a respected figure in sports, were uncalled for. And Bolt’s reply, after winning the relay with his team mates, that he had lost all respect for the man, may have sounded a little arrogant. But we should remember, Bolt was not speaking specifically for himself, but for all the athletes in Jamaica, who he said trained as hard as anybody else, and a little bit more. No wonder that Sebastian Coe, the chairperson of London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, and a former Olympian, hailed Bolt as “clearly a legend”.
It’s not just the greatness of Bolt on track, but his awesome freestyle off-the-track life that has made him one of the most liked person on earth. His signature Lightning Bolt style has left many a great person trying to copy it as a tribute to the towering Jamaican, from Prince Harry to Cristiano Ronaldo to our very beloved Indian cricket team. His seemingly effortless performance and a rather charming celebration, definitely works as a crowd puller for him. We never saw him crying after a run, be it a victory or a loss. After the debacle in Daegu, he calmly said, “Looking for tears? You won’t find it. I am OK”. It is this personality that people love the six-time Olympic Gold medallist for. It’s no surprise that he is one of the highest earners from sponsorship deals.
As I conclude, I believe that Bolt so very perfectly epitomizes the motto of the Olympic games – Citius, Altius, Fortius – Faster, Higher, Stronger. That he is the fastest man on earth, has been established time and again by the runner. I believe that this is not the peak yet for Bolt, and that a higher zenith awaits him, yet he is higher than most of his peers. And lastly, the way he came back strongly after Daegu, in the face of all negativities, clearly outlines that the motto was almost tailor-made to suit the Great Man.
No doubt, he is the tallest of them all. It all comes down to this, “U-sain, U-sain, U-sain!”