Week 34: Hero – Usain Bolt

by Charlie_East_West on August 23, 2015

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Our hero award goes to Usain Bolt for winning the 100m at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing and defeating the twice banned drugs cheat, Justin Gatlin, by one hundredth of a second.

Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman with rope-a-dope. Usain Bolt beat Justin Gatlin with rope-a-doper. Usain Bolt is often compared to Muhammad Ali in terms of charisma and an ability to globally transcend their sports. We can now add another comparison – The surprising sporting triumph of good verses evil.

Justin Gatlin has twice tested positive for banned substances and yet, at the age of 33, has been running “clean” personal bests in the 100m – with numerous times under 9.8 seconds. Usain Bolt has had a season blighted by a pelvic injury and arrived at the starting blocks for the 100m final with a lacklustre heat and a stumbling semi-final. After the recent wave of drugs allegations surrounding athletics, the sport desparately needed Bolt to win this race. But, this seemed highly unlikely.

We should have known by now that Usain Bolt should never be written off. He is the ultimate clutch athlete. Once again, under enormous pressure, Bolt delivered. By 70 metres Gatlin was tying up – technique coming apart, over stretching, arms flailing, rhythm going, as somehow, Bolt stayed with him. It was just enough for Bolt to steal the race, and possibly save his sport.

Bolt has won many magnificent races over a stellar career – often with world record times and ridiculously huge winning margins. But, today he did something even more impressive. Despite being out of form, he beat an in form drugs cheat by the slimmest of margins, and gave his sport a badly needed lightning bolt of credibility.

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