André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
They said he was no longer the best. They said his stranglehold on global sprinting was nearing an end; they said a lot of things, but when the curtain came down on the London Olympic Games last summer, what they could only say was, "Usain Bolt, legend."
Now, after the historic defence of his Olympic titles, Bolt was last night honoured with the Global Jamaican Award during The Gleaner Honour Awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The year 2012 was not an ordinary one for the man from Sherwood Content, Trelawny. Another car accident formed an untimely precursor to surprise back-to-back defeats at Jamaica's high-profile Olympic trials, marking only the third and fourth time the double world record holder was losing since Beijing 2008.
Flung in the growing shadow of fast-rising training partner, Yohan Blake, and blanketed by doubt for the first time since that Beijing display, Bolt entered the Olympic Games and the buzzing London scene with his larger-than-life appeal still intact, but without some of the usual gloss that goes along with it.
Ironically, those two defeats in late June to early July were perhaps the charge that Bolt needed to spur him into the sense of focus required.
In fact, it was a reflective Bolt, who himself stated, hands on chin, after the 100m and 200m defeats: "It's just one of those things. I know what I need to do. I have a few weeks to get ready before the Olympics and I am sure I will be ready when the time comes."
Before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, reports were already seeping through the cracks of a well-conditioned Bolt, with several insiders promising that he would be in "vintage" shape by the time he settled in the blocks for his first event.
The result was a blistering 9.63 seconds clocking in the 100m final - gold medal-worthy and the second-fastest time ever recorded over the distance. A few days later, Bolt secured his spot in the annals of track and field as the greatest sprinter of all time; legend of the sport, with a reserved yet dominating 19.32 in the 200m final; fingers on his lips as he crossed the line after a lesson of sheer power and pace.
Bolt did not trouble the record keepers this time around, even though his 200m run matched Michael Johnson's one-time seemingly unbreakable world record set back in 1996 at the Atlanta Games.
However, what he did was something that no other sprinter in history had been able to do, successfully defend a sprint double at the Olympic Games.
The Gleaner's 32nd Annual Honour Award
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