Friday, August 15, 2008

Caribbean Runnings

Many West Indians were cheering this morning as under clear skies with nary a wind their men flew like rockets down the track at the bird’s nest in Beijing. One after the other Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamasand the Netherlands Antilles stamped their authority on what is undoubtedly the most explosive and exciting race in track and field, the 100 metres.

Unruffled by the inevitable false starts the gentlemen of the Caribbean did not disappoint. From the diminutive Michael Frater (5’6”) to the gigantic Usain Bolt (6’5”), all stirred within us a sense of pride and joy as from the other side of the globe we encouraged them to demonstrate to the world the real definition of speed.

Richard Thompson of Trinidad let loose like a cannonball leaving Tyson Gay with a second place finish in his heat. Asafa affectionately known to us at home as A-fasa won both rounds as he continued to convince us that he has surmounted his Achilles heel – not of the physical but the psychological. Let us hope that persists to the final. Bolt, what can we say about Bolt? In his first heat he all but walked to a dawdling 10.20 seconds leaving the stragglers in his wake. In the second round he decided to charge his batteries a bit all the while leaving us with the impression that he was out for a leisurely stroll in Beijing even pausing to say hello as he looked side to side before stepping over the finish line in a blistering 9.92 seconds.

Bolt was not the only sprinter to run sub 10 however. Both Thompson and Churandy Martina (Netherlands Antilles) ran 9.99 secs. In Martina’s case it was a personal best. This leaves us to ponder: if 3 men ran sub10 in the second round, what can we expect in the semi-final and the finals tomorrow? Will lightning strike? Is it possible that on a Saturday evening in Beijing the world will see a human being clock under 9.7 seconds? What an (A)ugust occasion that would be!

Up until now all eyes have been on three men to stand on the podium, Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt and definitely not necessarily in that order. Thompson is looking impressive however and with all those false starts anything can happen. Do we dare hope? What a tropical reggae and calypso event it would be if Gold, Silver and Bronze go to the rhythmic men from the isles in the Caribbean Sea.

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