Everyone thought it may be possible after watching the 100-meter races in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. We all hoped for the race when he would actually run every meter and not slow up early to celebrate.
We all figured Usain Bolt was probably a freak, but I’m not sure anyone outside of a single Stanford professor knew just how fast a human could be.
We found out quickly, very quickly, on Sunday afternoon at the Track and Field World Championships in Berlin. All Bolt had to do was run faster than a 9.69 to prove he was faster than, well, himself.
And that’s really the only competition he had for this incredible sprint. If it was possible to shock the world again, Bolt logged a 9.58 to prove it is possible for our species to cover 100 meters in under 9.6 seconds.
We all remember Bolt breaking the world record last summer in Beijing despite slowing up to celebrate in the last ten meters or so. A Stanford professor estimated that he would have run a 9.55 in that race had he pushed through the finish line. But it wasn’t necessary then, and why show your cards when the rest of the pack has already folded?
The closest person to Bolt on Sunday was American Tyson Gay. He had no shot from the beginning, even the casual fan could see that. So with Gay looking like such a scrub in the race, surely his time was sub-par.
Think again. Despite finishing strides behind Bolt, Gay recorded a 9.71, the fastest an American has ever run 100 meters.
Bolt is very flashy, and watching him run once will put you on one side of the fence or the other. He is borderline obnoxious with his celebrations, and the phrase “Act like you’ve been there before” definitely doesn’t apply to the Jamaican.
Maybe he acts like that because nobody actually has been there before. And who am I to say I wouldn’t act exactly the same way if I earned something that no human in history ever has.
Imagine if you had the ability to out-run any person in history, and the entire livelihood of your sport was on your shoulders. Track and field is not the most televised sport, so its star needs to be flashy to bring attention to the events.
I strongly suggest you watch Bolt the next time he is on television. If it is anything like the last few races I have seen him run, he looks as if he is straining slightly harder than your average jogger.
So that begs the question- what if Bolt really has another level that we haven’t seen yet? After all, he says he may be able to run in the 9.4 range at some point in his career (he is only 23 years old).
So imagine you’re the fastest person in history, and you know that you can run even faster. You’ve fooled the world into thinking this is the fastest you can go and you know 6 billion people are mistaken.
Yeah, I’d be dancing too.