Rio Olympics Track sprints shaping to be most dramatic
It has been a minute since my last post .Admittedly simultraneous unforeseen events in Track & Field competition caused me literary pause. The dust needed to settle these past few weeks before I got a sense of the key players as we approach Rio Olympics on August 5.
Working backwards from this weekend’s London Anniversary Games , the final significant world-wide calendar event prior to Rio , the crowds went wild s stars Usan Bolt and Dafne Schippers performed superbly , winning their respective 200 metres races. 19.89 seconds for Bolt and 22.15 seconds Schippers.
Schippers just seems to be on the trajectory to take gold in Rio , based on her streak of wins these past few months , often with convincing margins of metres from the nearest competitor , a few times under 22 seconds. Today she deliberately went into overdrive in the stretch as the Americans attempted to close the gap. Efficient , classic strides, arm movement, smooth curve negotiation ,high knees and obligatory dip at the tape. The videos will be reviewed by coaches for years with young track aspirants.
He’s Back in Business !
The last time Olympic and World track sprint champion publicly ran was in the 100 metres heats of the Jamaica Olympic trials at Kingston 3 weeks ago. After he and Yohan Blake won their respective heats , just before the final word came Bolt would not continue and requested a Medical Waiver/Exemption from the Jamaica Olympics authorities.Friday night in London by running under 20.50 secs , the charismatic hero to millions secured his place on the Jamaican Rio squad.
Bolt’s uncertain health status along with many other dramatic turn of events with many other top sprinters male and female, forced me to pause my commentary until now. For this post I will focus on Usain, the other matters will follow in later posts.
Often we the fans , maybe of entertainment like music or movies and certainly in sports , get spoiled because of the consistent excellence of a favorite performer. Looking for that next historic plateau such as a world record, we sometimes forget the phenomenal achievements by our star to date. In the case of Usain Bolt , with all respect to the other competitors, he is competing against himself. The curent world record of 19.19 secs in the 200 metres is his, the previous of 19.30 secs also the Jamaican’s having broken USA’s Michael Johnson of 19.32 standing since the 90s.The 100 metres world record of 9.58 secs is Mr.Bolt’s , before that it was 9.69 secs and 9.71 secs all accomplished by this 6 foot 5 athlete.
On each occasion there was no one close to Bolt at the finish line. So when fellow Racers club mates Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade battle for the Jamaica Olympic trials in 20.29 secs , we applaud but check the record. When USA determined veteran sprinter Justin Gatlin seals his US place in world leading time of 19.74 sec, once more congrats , however check the record. At 19.89 secs here in London Usain Bolt is way off his best performances documented. He competes against himself.When Usain Bolt gives stellar performance such as world record proximity, he’s unbeatable. When he gives the decent mortals clocking times, he is vulnerable to both speculation and being beaten.
Former world record holder in 200 metres Michael Johnson briefly interviews Bolt in the footage above, recognizing Bolt’s tentative negotiation of the curve, but giving his approval for the execution. Bolt conceded he needs more work before Rio. This man is going for the 3-Peat at Rio in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4 X 100 metres relay.Next stop Rio. That move when Dance Hall is done over Samba ? No worries , it will be performed and given a name soon.