Lightning Bolt strikes again
STILL COMING down from David Rudisha, still rising up for the super human race. Is this here, is this now, is this real?
What a night, what a show, but for once, not even the Usain Bolt gets to steal it – not when one man runs two laps of the track, completely on his own, in less than one minute and 41 seconds. “Wow”, in Rudisha’s own words, not mine.
With that, the first world record inside the Olympic Stadium fell to Rudisha, the 23-year-old Maasai from Kenya, first discovered and still coached by Brother Colm O’Connell from Cork. Running 1:40.91, with no pace-maker, leading from gun to tape, dragging seven other men under 1:44: the single most impressive performance of these entire Olympics.
So, follow that? Well, he tried, yet when Bolt crossed the line to win the 200m, less than an hour later, he knew, in that moment, that it wouldn’t be a world record: still, 19.32 wasn’t bad – Bolt faking a whispering motion as if to suggest that might still quieten a few people.
Just not good enough to better his own 19.19 from three years ago, but equalling the former world record which Michael Johnson held from 1996 until Bolt himself broke it – with the 19.30 he ran to win the title four years ago in Beijing.
Good enough too to give Bolt a first Olympic double-double in men’s sprinting, the first man to win back-to-back titles in the 100m and 200m. No wonder Bolt celebrated like the night still belonged to him, including a quick set of push-ups, the likes of which wasn’t seen in an Olympic celebration since Abebe Bikila won the marathon in 1960.
Legend? No question about it now.
Bolt had two fellow Jamaicans with him on the victory lap, both only 22, with his training partner Yohan Blake once again relegated to silver, running a season best of 19.44, with the new kid on the block, Warren Weir, taking third in a lifetime best of 19.84.
Each of them breaking through the sound barrier, chasing land speed records, rounding the bend, giant hearts beating in rounded chests – true chariots of fire. Even if they had wings on their feet, they couldn’t have shown everyone else such a clean pair of heels – as if the others were running on quicksand.
It made for an extra-long victory lap, and by the time Bolt finally made it up towards the mixed zone, Rudisha’s medal ceremony was coming to a close. Being the man that he is, Bolt turned around and applauded – knowing exactly how special a world record feels.