It wasn't long ago that 9.77 was the gold standard of sprinting. That was the time run by Asafa Powell in June 2005 to bring the world 100-metre record to Jamaica. Viewed statistically, that old standard is still so good that, even now, only four men have ever gone faster.
However, Usain Bolt has been so good that the old standard has been forgotten. The benchmark is now Bolt's 2009 Berlin blast of 9.58 seconds, and no matter what he does, he is marked against that.
That's the metre rule many onlookers use to measure his run of 9.77 seconds to regain the World 100-metre title. For them, it pales in comparison to his majestic 2008 and 2009 performances. Yet, as is often the case in sport, the number doesn't tell the whole story.
Run in driving rain, the World Championship 100 final was contested in still conditions and was won by a man with sore legs. Viewed through that prism, it was nothing short of remarkable.
Moreover, it probably is a world record for 100-metre races run in the rain. In better conditions, the entire field would almost certainly have gone faster. That includes Bolt.
The cool reception of this latest 9.77 is Bolt's fault. He was so mind-bendingly fast in 2008 and 2009 that it has created great expectations. On top of that, he has run faster than 9.77 in seven races.
Winning isn't enough. For a Bolt performance to be worthy in most eyes, it has to be a record.
I feel that the 100-metre world record - his 2009 masterpiece of 9.58 seconds set in Berlin - is so good that it will be hard to reach for several years. Form, conditions and competition are all needed to set the stage for records.
Take his 100-metre win at the London Olympics as an example. Even though it was just a year ago, it's hard even to remember his winning time from the 2012 Olympics.
Yet, he defied the London chill to turn back six other men who broke 10 seconds with his and history's second fastest time - 9.63. Had that race been run in warmer weather, all the conditions for record-breaking might have been fulfilled.
Some predicted that the tall man would be chasing the fast ghost of Bolt's past and there's an extent to which they've been proven right. Judged on the numbers, he hasn't surpassed his best. Viewed more broadly, his London sprint double was nothing short of brilliant. Who else has ever done a 9.63/19.32 sprint double?
Only Bolt and Blake have faster 200-metre times than 19.32 and Blake ran 19.44 seconds for the silver in London.
No one has ever run that fast and lost. It's a year after the fact and that fact is still stunning.
Bolt's next task in Moscow is the 200 metres. He has been even more successful in that event than the 100 and is going for his third gold, his fourth medal and his fifth final. He should win. If the leg soreness he cited in the 100 is gone, he might serve the fans a treat in the event closest to his heart.
It's an event that might now yield a Jamaican sweep. Warren Weir has improved since his Olympic bronze and injury has removed 2011 third-place finisher Christophe Lemaitre from the running.
That gives 100 finalist Nickel Ashmeade a clearer chance to step to the podium. Ashmeade set a personal best of 9.90 seconds in the 100 and that should bear him up in the 200 where he is the reigning Diamond League champion.
The question about the record - 19.19 seconds from Berlin - hovers in the wind. It was a strong possibility until the tall man suffered a hamstring injury in May. That turned this season into a salvage operation. Titles, and not times, are his goal this year.
Time will tell
The record will have to wait.
It's amazing what can happen in eight years. No one was thinking about the 9.5 range when Asafa ran the first 9.77, but Bolt made talk about the 9.4 commonplace for a while. Now, even that speculation has subsided with suggestions tabled that the ghost of Bolt's past is too fast.
He turns 27 later this month. That's young enough to break more records as Carl Lewis did at 30 in the 100 and as Michael Johnson did at 31 in the 400. Will he do it? Time and his times will tell.
Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.