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Can the big man Bolt live up to expectations?

Published:Monday | August 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Daviot Kelly
Bolt
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Now, we all know Usain Bolt is di world boss of athletics. Considering how officials at whatever games he's attending always bend over backwards to accommodate him is proof enough. Plus, remember how the men's 4x400 used to close the athletics show of any event? Well since Monsieur Bolt came to prominence shattering the men's 100-metre world record at two consecutive major games (Beijing and Berlin), all of a sudden it's the men's 4x100 relay that wraps things up. And look no further than the recent Commonwealth Games. Bolt was only there for a few days but was star of the show.

I say all this to emphasise the man is great, and with all he's accomplished, there's no reason to question whether he can deliver the goods again and again. But according to Reuters, the big man said he wants to break the 200-metre record again. Having pipped, then smashed it at the same two consecutive major events respectively, now Mr Lightning wants to take it even further, below 19 seconds! Yep, Bolt wants to run the 200 metres in 18 seconds and something. That's faster than a getaway car on the new highway between Linstead and Moneague.

Now, I can run the 100 metres; it just might take me a little while to get there. The 200? Hmm, maybe I might have to stop at about 150. So for me to tell the big man whether he can or can't break another record would be beyond ridiculous. But I just don't think it's going to happen. I would be over the moon if he accomplished it, but I'm not going to bet the car. A human going sub-19 will happen, but I think Bolt's a little too far along for him to be the man to do it. There are some extra miles on those legs now and there are niggling injuries.

Unfit

Consider, too, that this season is pretty far gone and he hasn't been fit. So let's say he strives for a healthy 2015. That means the World Championships. Now assuming he qualifies for both the 100 and 200, that means running the rounds of both events, and the 100 comes first. By the time he gets to the finals of the 200 (let's face it, he can do that in his sleep), will his legs still have it for a record? So maybe his best bet is in one of those one-off Diamond League races. Hmm, even then, conditions would have to be ideal and he would have to be on some kind of streak leading up to it. So I'm really doubtful.

I will say this, however: the last time Bolt broke the 200-metre record (Berlin 2009) a few seconds before the race, I said to a colleague "19.25", giving my prediction to where the then-record 19.30 would go. Bolt ran 19.19. I'm just saying.

Tell me if you think he can do it at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com