Double sprint champion Usain Bolt had promised to party on Saturday night like “it is my birthday’’ and we all know what to expect when the irrepressible Jamaican decides to let his hair down.
Why, shortly after winning the 100m in a blazing, Olympic record time of 9.63 secs, Bolt spent the evening with three female Swedish handball players in his room in the athletes village, and even posted pictures with them on his twitter account.
Girls for company
He was to explain later that the girls wanted his autograph, and because he did not have a pen on him, he called them over to his room where they spent some time chatting and took pictures. As this is being written, Bolt had one event still remaining to round up a glorious Olympics for himself – the 4x100 m relay where Jamaica are the reigning champions. “I want to sleep well and be ready for this last race before I celebrate,” he said on Friday.
But win or lose, one reckons, Bolt would be unstoppable in his celebrations – just much as he has been while winning the 100 and 200m gold medals, and which has marked him out as the biggest star – barring none – of these Olympics.
Indeed, his prowess on the track is perhaps the more significant aspect of Bolt’s personality, much as his flamboyance off it might win him as many headlines. No other sprinter in history has retained both 100 and 200m titles at the Olympics, nobody has held the world record simultaneously for both events for so long.
Not that records seem to mean too much to Bolt. At Beijing, it might be remembered, he slowed down perceptibly over the last 10m metres of the 100 race once he knew he was winning, thumping his chest to the finish line. In the 200m here, when in sight of breaking his own Olympic record of 19.30, he appeared to slacken again.
Disdain for ‘giving it his all’ would have it, has earned him the approbation some purists and authority, Rogge most vocal among them, but as far as fast goes, Bolt stands supreme. Almost the entire world came to a standstill when he ran the sprints. There is no bigger draw, surely, in athletics today.
Debate on whether Bolt is the greatest sprinter of all time has not shifted tracks to whether he is the greatest Olympian of all time. This is not as easy to resolve, for he has to contend with the likes of Michael Phelps, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Steve Redgrave, Al Oerter among the Biggies — not to forget Carl Lewis who has nine Olympic medals to his credit. Bolt’s anger at Lewis for raising doubts about whether Jamaican sprinters are clean or not , however, may not see him continue in the 10 and 200m till 2016 and the chance to equal the American’s
“I’ll be 30 then, which may be too old to stave off guys like Yohan (Blake) and a few others,” says Bolt. “I might try the 400m or some other sport, because sport is what I love and do best.’’
Bolt has in the past hinted that he could play football. Manchester united is his favourite club a Wayne Rooney a friend. On the other hand, he could also go back to his first favourite. “I love cricket. I could play the Indian Premier League,’’ he said, much as had his compatriot Yohan Blake.
Food for thought for franchise owners!