Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Robert Evans | Usain Bolt has done it all

Published:Tuesday | August 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMRobert Evans

It certainly is a privilege to be a member of the generation that has been able to enjoy the performances of Usain St Leo Bolt - by far the most extraordinary sprinter the world has ever seen.

He has run against royalty (unfortunately losing under protest to Prince Harry in Kingston 2012) and movie stars; has played cricket in India with the great Yuvraj Singh; and has won the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year four times (tied for most awards with Tiger Woods and again tied with Tiger Woods for being nominated a record seven times). He is one of the most recognisable and loved faces on the planet - a major drawing card for advertisers; and is an international businessman. He has done it all in the sport.

His medal tally in the Olympics and World Championships at the start of the 2017 Worlds was 19 gold and two silver. He has broken (and still holds) all the sprint world records; is the only member of the sub-9.6 second club for the 100m, the sub-19.20 club for the 200m, and with his colleagues, the sub-37.0 for the 4x100m relay. He has never failed a drug test.

Bolt has false-started and has pulled up because of injury. It was only at his final race meeting at the 2017 World Championships that, at long last, he achieved a bronze medal - the only medal missing from his trophy case - so now, at last, Usain Bolt has done it all!

There is so much to say about this great man - so many firsts, and only few are mentioned here. Like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, he has brought financial benefits to his sport by positioning it in the forefront of international media attention. Obviously, the entire Jamaica has benefit from his career.

Those who chose to focus on Usain Bolt pulling up in his final race when the entire world was watching should hear about the legendary Australian, Sir Don Bradman, still said to be the greatest batsman ever.

 

Clean-bowled

 

Sir Don had an aggregate score of 6,996 runs from 52 Tests with a batting average of 99.94. The year was 1948 and the country England. Amid thunderous applause, he walked out to the crease at the Oval (now the Kia Oval for promotional reasons) and took up his stance for his final innings, needing only four runs to become the only cricketer with a Test average of 100. Sir Don was clean-bowled second ball for a duck!

Bradman went on to become a very successful businessman. In 1949, he became the first cricketer to be knighted. There is a statue of him at Adelaide Oval and a stadium named after him in New South Wales. Although both Usain and Sir Don are unquestionably unforgettable legends, they are, like us all, human beings.

Speaking of knighthoods, as a matter of interest, the first persons knighted for athletics was Sir Roger Bannister in 1975. He completed the world's first sub-four minute mile. Six others were knighted before renowned distance runner Sir Sebastian Coe in 2006. In 2009, Sir John Walker of New Zealand received his knighthood, followed by three knighthoods in 2017 - Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Dame Valerie Adams of New Zealand. One must wonder who will be next!

The only disappointment with Usain Bolt is that he has been denied the triple-triple because one of the members of his winning relay team in Beijing, Nesta Carter, was disqualified, but this matter is still under appeal. Notwithstanding this debarment, Mr Bolt is the only athlete who has won three consecutive 100m plus 200m in Olympics. The disappointment is that if he did get the triple-triple, then he would qualify to borrow the shirt worn by Christopher Gayle, who uses the number 333!

- Robert Evans is an engineer. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and bobbyevans27@gmail.com.