What a race in the men’s 100m final today at the London 2012 Olympics! I stayed away from Twitter and the Internet because I wanted to watch the race on NBC in primetime without seeing any spoilers. Usain Bolt did not disappoint and repeated as the 100m gold medalist from four years ago in Beijing. Here is Michael Wilbon on the historic race:
The race had everything except a world record, and that’s something Bolt simply doesn’t seem interested in at the moment. He still didn’t explode through the finish tape. He looked right, then left, to see who was on him. When the answer was “no one,” Bolt pulled up for a step. One step, when you consider his stride at 6-foot-5, is the difference between 9.63 and 9.53, which would have been a world record.
What seems to please him more than a world record is the drama he can create. Bolt could have come out and pronounced himself fit before the Games began, but didn’t. He probably could have beaten Blake if he’d wanted to, but why when you love the attention, perhaps even crave it? How many world-class athletes admit, as Bolt did Sunday night, to needing the crowd’s adoration before a race to take away the jitters? Having heard the ovation, bigger than what any British sprinter received all night, Bolt said to himself, “Game time!”
He had plantains, hash browns and fruit for breakfast, then chicken and rice, pork, “a chicken wrap from McDonald’s for lunch. … It had some vegetables, so don’t judge me,” he said.
You can hang on every utterance with Bolt, even when he says he might take on the 400 after these Olympics, because Bolt’s the biggest star in the Olympic universe. Michael Phelps is more decorated, but Phelps has no interest in entertaining, which is what stars do. Bolt doesn’t have to try, he just does it. He is, as Richard Pryor would have said, “a natural born star.” It requires nothing extra in his day. Bolt opens his mouth and a star comes out.
Bolt’s (in)famous celebration tonight: