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Ken Borland

Bolt pushing the boundaries of human ability

Posted on January 16, 2013 by Ken

While South Africans can rightly feel proud of Oscar Pistorius for redefining what is possible for the disabled, Usain St Leo Bolt is undoubtedly the athlete who has pushed the boundaries of human ability to new levels.

Although the Jamaican did not set any new world records in 2012, his achievement in defending both the 100 and 200m titles at the Olympic Games was unprecedented and he added consecutive gold medals in the 4x100m just for good measure.

As a wonderful graphic comparison of all the 100m Olympic medallists in the New York Times [] pointed out, Bolt is so far ahead of all the other great sprinters that he would have beaten the legendary Carl Lewis by 10 feet if they had run together in London this year.

In an event where the margins are so small, Bolt not only dominates, he destroys his opposition. The only time he has been beaten in a major race in recent years came after a false start in the 2011 World Championships 100m. Bolt owns the three fastest times ever in the 100m and is also the world record-holder in the 200m.

And in London this year he was visibly slowing down at the finish, but still clocked 9.63 seconds, second only to the 9.58 he ran at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, when he also took time to celebrate before reaching the finishing line.

There is no doubt the 26-year-old is one of sport’s greatest entertainers, someone people want to see perform, much like Pele, Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan. Not only are his athletic exploits extraordinary to behold, the crowds also eat up his showboating and clowning around before and after races.

Before Bolt, the 100m used to be a deadly-serious affair, full of macho posturing and muscle-clenching, but the 6ft5, wonderfully proportioned Jamaican pulled the mickey out of that and then went on to leave his competitors as also-rans.

It is clear that Bolt combines freakish physical attributes (the perfect combination of height, stride length, twitch fibre speed, power and pace) with mental strength and efficient training. Having said in Tokyo earlier this year that he was keen to try the 400m and long jump at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Bolt backtracked last month and said he felt he could still get faster in the sprint events with different training methods.

What a scary thought for his rivals! Perhaps their only hope is to allow them to have Alsatians chasing them from behind because it seems only a superhuman effort is going to beat Bolt, the Super Human.

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