By. Neo Makeba
“This means a lot because I’ve been struggling all season, it’s taken me a while to work things out,” Usain Bolt said after the race. “It’s been up and down but it’s OK now.”
People often compare Usain Bolt to Muhammad Ali – not for his political convictions but his charisma, for the effect he has had on his sport, for the impact he has made on the world outside it. This is probably the reason there was such “hype” about this race in Beijing. Especially as some punters had already predicted that USA’s Justin Gatlin would dent his record on the world stage.
The controversial Justin Gatlin came into the final on a 28-race unbeaten run and apparently relishing his role as the sport’s bad guy. Bolt had raced the 100m on just two days this season before arriving in China. So bad was his pelvic injury that not until late July did he record a time that hinted he could even be competitive in Beijing.
What could Bolt possibly do up against the relentless consistency of Gatlin? These have been the American’s times this year: 9.74 secs, 9.75, 9.75, 9.78. In his heat he ran 9.83, in his semi 9.77.
But at the same Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing where Bolt announced himself to the world with two Olympic golds and two world records in 2008, the Jamaican came past a faltering Gatlin at the death to snatch victory by one hundredth of a second!
Bolt’s 9.79 seconds was more than two tenths off his world record, but this was a night for athletics to celebrate victories rather than times.
Arguably the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen, Usain St Leo Bolt, confirmed his tremendous talents when he realized his dreams by winning a phenomenal three gold medals and breaking three world records at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Bolt became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record times and then as part of the 4x100m team that also smashed the world record later in the meet. He created history again and became a legend at the 2012 Olympic Games in London by defending all three Olympic titles with 100m, 200m and 4x100m victories, the latter in a new world record time of 36.84 secs.
Photos show Bolt celebrating with his parents and hugging defeated Justin Gatlin,