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Usain Bolt

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:27 pm
by Hugh Weldon

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:46 pm
by kas
I was wondering how long it would take for this subject to crop up here.

An incredible race. None of the others had any chance in it, even though Tyson Gay made a new national record. On a 'normal' race that would have brought the gold medal easily home to him. No wonder he looked so angry and disappointed.

Wow indeed!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:48 pm
by Des
Usain Bolt is God.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:50 pm
by Charlie
With Usain, all you can do is gape in wonder. I love his playful manner. He has invented the use of the camera as his own private mirror, because he can see himself in giant screen in the background. Actions which could easily have been arrogant don't come across that way. He is a country boy from Jamaica whose feet, however fast they are, have not left the ground. By comparison, American athletes come across as surly, self-obsessed and unappealing.

But I was even more impressed last night by the 10,000 metres. I was not looking forward to it, watching so many people whose names I did not know. But for once the commentators were helpful, pointing out the challenge facing all the other runners who did not know how to cope with the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who had won all eleven of his previous races, often against these same athletes. It was no use for them to go slow and hope to outsprint him at the end, because he is known to be so fast nobody can beat him that way. The only hope was to make the early pace so hard he would be tired at the end, and during the opening laps several runners sacrificed themselves in order to keep up the pace.

After about eight laps, the Eritrean runner Tadese took on the mantle of front runner and went through successive laps in 61 seconds, 61 again, 64, 62, all of this at close to four minute mile pace and they still had more than half the race to go. Bekele just tucked in behind and never looked uncomfortable. How discouraging for everybody. You could only try to imagine what kind of training these guys do, how hard they push themselves when everything is crying out for rest.

As impressive as Bolt is, he does start with several natural advantages - speed, height and strength. In the case of Bekele, there's no inherent physical difference between him and the others; it's all in the mind.

I suppose it is like the difference between 20/20 cricket and a five day test match, and the tactics of long distance running are fascinating.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:44 pm
by Hugh Weldon

I suppose it is like the difference between 20/20 cricket and a five day test match, and the tactics of long distance running are fascinating

Yes, both have their fascination, a 2 minute single compared to a jazz album with a track that takes up the whole side perhaps.

You had to admire Tadese who just didn't have enough to really push ahead and stretch a lead. Bekele's kick to overtake him and forge ahead to the finish was wonderful to watch.

I think my favourite long distance guy though was David Bedford. Always used to take the lead, stretch it out and just stay there, most of the time. Can't recall if he ever won any medals though.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:08 am
by Charlie
Shocking moves to deny the credibility of Caster Semenya, South African winner of the women's 800, whereby the IAAF dropped the bombshell of their investigation just before the race was due to start. If they were hoping to destabilise her, it didn't work. Why did they feel the need to make an announcement at that stage?

Apparently, what drew their attention was a sudden improvement of about 8 seconds earlier in the summer. But that would have had nothing to do with her gender. If she really was a boy all that time, she would have been running faster from the moment she started.

I remember thinking that Mutola of Mozambique, a previous 800 metre champion, looked rather 'unfeminine', but surely these concepts are cultural. Semenya looks feminine to me....

this is the report in the Telegraph:

World athletics body, the IAAF, asked South Africa to carry out gender tests on the 18 year-old after her muscular physique and extraordinary performances sparked speculation that she could be male.

But her mother Dorcus Semenya, a part-time carer, said: "I am not even worried about that because I know who and what my child is. Mokgadi Caster is a girl and no one can change that."

Speaking from her home in the rural village of Seshego, near Polokwane in South Africa's Limpopo province, the mother-of-six told South Africa's Star newspaper: "If you go at my home village and ask any of my neighbours, they would tell you that Mokgadi is a girl.

"They know because they helped raise her. People can say whatever they like but the truth will remain, which is that my child is a girl. I am not concerned about such things."

Semenya's grandmother Maphuthi Sekgala said she been teased about her masculine appearance since the day she joined the village soccer team as the only girl.

Mrs Sekgala, 80, said: "I know she's a woman. I raised her myself."

When global speculation began mounting over Semenya's gender earlier this week, she rang from Berlin, where she was competing, to speak to her grandmother in the village of Fairlie, near Polokwane in Limpopo province.

Describing the conversation on Monday night, Mrs Sekgala told South Africa's Times newspaper: "She called me after the heats and told me that they think she's a man. What can I do when they call her a man, when she's really not a man? It is God who made her look that way."

But Semenya has a thick skin after coping with years of taunting from other pupils at school.

Mrs Sekgala added: "If the teasing hurt her, she kept the hurt to herself and didn't show what she was feeling."

Semenya's sister Nkele, 16, also defended her legitimacy as a female and said: "People must stop calling her a man because we are proud of her."

The athlete's best friend Deborah Morolong, 22, said she never had any interest in boyfriends but refused to accept thatshe was not female.

Miss Morolong, 22, who attended Nthema High School in Fairlie with Semenya, said: "She never had a boyfriend. She doesn't like boys. I think they are saying that out of jealousy. It really hurts me when they say that about her."

Meanwhile Semenya's former headmaster said he was "very, very proud" of the dedicated runner, but admitted she reached grade 11 before he realised she was a girl.

Eric Modiba, head of the Nthema Secondary School, from where Semenya graduated last year, added: "She was always rough and played with the boys. She liked soccer and she wore pants to school. She never wore a dress. It was only in Grade 11 that I realised she's a girl."

In an interview with South Africa's Beeld newspaper, Mr Modiba explained that Semenya wore the male version of the uniform at school - the yellow shirts and grey pants. All the other girls wear reddish-brown skirts and yellow shirts.

Semenya was banned from speaking to the media following her sensational final race.

She was whisked away from the crowd within moments of claiming gold with an impressive 1.55:45 time, beating defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya into second place and leaving British star Jennifer Meadows to collect bronze. ... tions.html

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:24 pm
by Neil Foxlee
Des wrote:Usain Bolt is God.

Not another one, please...

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:48 am
by kas
Another outrageous race by Bolt last night...

But, for change, let's hear it for the Jamaican ladies. They've made all of their races an event to watch. Shelly Ann-Fraser was my favourite on the 100 metres race, and here is one happy winner (the language in the clip is Finnish, by the way):


PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:55 pm
by Charlie
I've never seen a blue running track before.

Did they do it so everybody could write the headline: Another bolt from the Blue?

Strangely, I have not seen anybody use it.

He is such a good guy, unaffected and enjoying every minute. What a change from those triumphal Americans. And yes, the same goes for most of the other Jamaican runners too. Incredible that Jamaica is ahead of the US (and everybody else) in the medals table.

Not so long ago, the best Jamaican runners were competing for the UK and Canada (Linford Christie, etc) , I wonder if their victories gave confidence to the people still on the island that they could do it too. Credit to the clubs and coaches for providing the infrastructure. In the past most Caribbean runners (from Trinidad, Barbados, etc) were snapped up by American colleges and wound up acting like Americans.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:11 pm
by uiwangmike
Don’t forget Don Quarrie, one of the most graceful of sprinters, who won the 200 for Jamaica at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, just losing to Trinidad’s Hasely Crawford in the 100. (Though both were American-trained).

Celebrated (somewhat abstractly) in music:

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:37 am
by Hugh Weldon
For those of you who can't get enough of that blue track, another blistering performance, LaShawn Merritt in the 400:

It's that funny time of year when the summer sports and the winter sports overlap, I really can't begin to take a serious interest in the footy until Berlin is over and the outcome of the Test remains open with that marvellous England bowling performance this afternoon.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:17 pm
by kas
Apparently the blue track is the latest thing in the race to davelop ever faster running tracks. In the spring this year, they installed one on the stadium that hosted the Finnish championships not far from where I live. All the racers applauded the new track, but confessed it took some time to use to it.

On our stadium, though, the track is actually striped...


PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:54 pm
by Charlie
uiwangmike wrote:Don’t forget Don Quarrie, one of the most graceful of sprinters

Indeed, and Merlyn Ottey too, the even more graceful of sprinters.

But this generation is truly great, in depth, and all with a very good attitude.

I am fearful that in future big games, not only will each athlete need a manager and coach, as they do now, but they will have to have a victory celebration choreographer too.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:42 pm
by tulsehill charlie
Charlie, how could you have missed the opportunity of mentioning the gazelle of sprinters, the wonderful Allyson Felix, who has now won 3 200m world championships in a row. I saw her run at the Crystal Palace event, and my son got some closeups of Bolt, the people's champion.