Saturday, August 16, 2008

100 metres of Class

Stunned, shocked, astonished, amazed are few of the words being bandied about to describe the reactions to the world's greatest 100m performance ever. At 7:05am Jamaica tuned in to observe our three athletes: Bolt, Powell and Frater qualify for the 100 meter finals. To add to the excitement the Netherlands Antilles (Martina) and Trinidad and Tobago (Thompson and Burns) were in the runnings. Six sons of the Caribbean were there in the final. Shockingly Tyson Gay was out, running a pedestrian 10.05 seconds. For the next 2 1/2 hours amateurs became experts, predictions were made, bets were cast, tempers flared and dramas played out. Who would win? My son and I predicted Bolt, my husband said Asafa. We said Thompson and Martina were to be watched. Could Jamaica make it one, two? Oh the stress, the excitement, the anxiety.

At 9:30 all eyes were glued to the tv. Quiet not a sound. You could hear a pin drop. Bolt had drawn lane 4 and Asafa 7. Beside Bolt there was Thompson of Trinidad. The man I thought was the one to watch. I was worried about possible false starts but had no need. The race started without delay, everybody shot out of their blocks. At about 50 meters I saw Bolt surge forward as if he'd turned on the turbo. After that the race was amazingly, indisputably over. He simply destroyed the field. Where is Asafa? I heard someone scream. No one else mattered as by about the 70 metre mark we all knew that the thoroughbred Bolt was the man. Stunningly he dropped his hands, while his pursuers pumped in vain. It was all a blur. I could barely watch while at the same time could not tear my eyes away. What was I seeing? This:

And this

The others, mere mortals, huffed and puffed while this Bolt out of the blue appeared to ease into a canter. He even managed to turn sideways acknowledging the crowd.

Then those well toned and long legs strode majestically over the line as Bolt thumped his chest in victory. The gold was his, the gold was Jamaica's. We went wild.

Interestingly my man to watch Thompson, Trinidad's next Hasely Crawford thrilled and was thrilled with his second place finish. A well deserved silver.

We continued to watch in disbelief as Asafa crossed, a disappointing fifth but there was more incredulity to come as Bolt had not only won the gold, he had broken the Olympic record and in the process demolished his own world record.

Oh Lord, welcome to Jamrock. We hooted as reggae blasted in the stands and foreigners joined our cheers. And Jamaica, little Jamaica barely stood still as the world watched.

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