The London 2012 games are officially over. Its been 17 days and the world has been drawn to athletics. 17 days when those who are highly favored got the chance to actually see the games in person and for those who were not so fortunate sat glued to their television sets , myself included . For 17 days we did not move except to take a shower and do the obligatory thing of eating something before we sit and die before the TV.
The Olympics brings one thing to the viewer- a spectacle of human strength. We sit in awe and watch fellow humans stretch the limits of human boundaries to accomplish feats the the average Joe Blow can only dream of doing. The furthest he will go is pressing the button on the remote. Thats his version of human accomplishment. We sit in awe and we cheer our hearts out when the athletes go higher, faster and stronger than their competitors. We are in love with the TV and with our human self.
Growing up we always heard our parents speak of great stories of human accomplishment. A a Jamaican I never knew who Jessie Owens was but my parents told me what he did in the face of adversity. The story they told me fascinated me at a young age and they spoke of this man having paved the way for black athletes to compete. I was also told of Herb McKinley and Arthur Wint the 2 Jamaican athletes who themselves went to London and did the impossible. From a small island they won the 100 yards and 440 yards at the time. Those were fascinating stories for a young man at the time. Growing up Donald Quarrie, another sporting personality set his mark by wining the 200m in the Olympics the only athlete from Jamaica them to do so. These men from an early age inspired me to take up track and developed a love for it to this day . the stories were inspiring, uplifting and proved that it was possible to accomplish the impossible. They were our local legends that every young man wanted to be like.
We grow up in many places, in our homes , our churches, our extended families and in our schools and in every sector of the society we come across some legendary feats that remain with you forever. In my college years the stories were too vast and too many legends were born out of my College years. My headmaster affectionately called Jango, his vice principal who we were all in awe with his flawless circle drawn by hand in our maths class. Mr Dibbs is a legend. Not to mention the beating our school managed to give other schools in teack and filed and football. Those days were legendary. They actually happened and we can tell our children of those feats.
Jump to 2012 and there are questions and debates on Usain Bolt. Is he a legend? That question is like asking if the sun shines in jamaica? People like to complicate simple things. We tend to forget everything that ever happened in the past . To document Usain Bolt’s life is like rewriting history. That is already documented and can be read by anyone who chooses to do so. But the question of him being a legend simple stops me in my track.
Bolt appeared on the scene from he was 17 years old and very few people took notice. Not until 2008 when the world saw this tall athlete smashed the world records in all sprint disciplines and took notice. 4 years later amidst lots of adversity he came back to the world’s largest stage and repeated the feat he set 4 years earlier. He ended with a world record.
Bolt was the first man to do 9.5 in 100m sprinting, a feat most people thought impossible. He went further and set a new 200m mark stunning everyone who witnessed it. He then anchored his team in the 4x100m relay to a world record. 80,000 people stood in awe to watch this man run. The entire world stopped and watch him race. He is the only man in jamaica that stopped production for 10 seconds. He single handedly took on the powerful USA and turned their track programme to dust. He was so fast that no one on the planet could beat him when he puts his mind to it. And he proved it twice. Yes son Bolt did these things in 2008 and 2012 and he had the world as his oyster and the world had him as their fantasy. Thankfully he is alive. Go on line and see his races.
That was me talking to my son telling him of the legendary tales of Usain Bolt. He inspired me then and he inspired my son now. His stories actually happened. so the question being asked is quite simply dumb founded and one cannot help but think that he is a victim of his own fame. A man does not have to die to be a legend. There are many persons writing their legacy now and who are already legends. Barack Obama, Portia Simpson, Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods to name a few. They are legends thankfully living inspiring others to take their lead.
People are talking now about Bolt both his enemies and his friends. The unfortunate thing is words of thanks from his fellow men may not be a free giving as it should be. He has given himself to humanity and there are those who still question him. That is the sign of true greatness and human weakness. Bolt name is written in the pages of the history books as the first of all men to do the impossible. His name will go down in history as being the tallest fastest man in his time and from the look of things it could be a while before another legend comes of age. One thing is certain, BOLT IS A LEGEND. We hope we see many more of him to satisfy our lust for greatness. Greatness is starting something that lives after you. Bolt has started a revolution in track and field that will outlast him. Frankly it does not seem it will be rewritten for a long , long time. Ask yourself this question, will you be talking about him now or anytime soon? If the answer is yes then he is already a legend, you just don’t want to admit it!