Hubert Lawrence | Bolt and one last 200m
I was gobbling merrily away at an Easter Monday cookout when the question came. Why isn't Usain Bolt running the 200 metres at the IAAF World Championships in London? Having fed me, my host wasn't far from demanding a good answer. I didn't have one.
I'd long resolved to enjoy whatever the incomparable one chose to do in this, his final year of competition. That resolve only came after I had laid to rest my own wish for Bolt to give his considerable all to the 200m in this farewell season.
My culinary interrogator asked me the questions I've stopped asking myself. Isn't he better at 200m? The Bolt Olympic/World Championship 100/200m gold medal count answers seven in the 200m, and six in the 100m. Isn't it his favourite event the 200m? Yes. Is his inconsistent start more a liability in the short event? Yes.
On my additional list of Bolt-Please-Run-The-200-This-Year questions were, 'Didn't the rain slow him down to 19.78 seconds at the Rio Olympics' and 'Weren't we all dreaming of sub-19 just the year before?'
Pressed for answers from my host, a keen sports fan, I kept on eating.
Bolt is clearly taking a minimalist approach to this sayonara season. When Carl Lewis was in his swansong, he ran mostly relays around the world. Michael Johnson did the same. Both wanted to meet their fans who cheered them on during their accomplished careers.
Bolt is doing things differently. While those gentlemen could ease off the accelerator in training, the tall man is intent on defending his World Championship crown in the 100 metres. As defending champion in both sprints, he has the assurance of the oddly named wild card and could run the 200m if he changes his mind.
To check the box of running at home, he will step forward in the Racers Grand Prix. Later, it seems that he is expected to run 300 metres in the Czech Republic city of Ostrava where he always receives a hero's welcome. Don't bet on him competing here, there and everywhere.
It would have been great if he had run at the Gibson-McCook Relays, where he once helped the Racers to a 4x100 metres record. In 2010, he entered Gibson folklore with a 44.2 second 4x400 metre anchor leg. The fans would have loved it.
They'll love him at the Racers meet and anywhere he goes this season and not just because he will soon run no more. He's that rare blend between athletic prowess and personality. Those attributes have made him an asset to the sport of athletics since his emergence as a superstar in 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games.
How was the Easter meal? Like Bolt's career, it was so good that most people would answer with the famous Oliver Twist quote, 'Please sir, I want some more.'
- Hubert Lawrence went to that Easter Barbeque after TV broadcasts of the Carifta Games were finished.