Monday, August 06, 2012

08/06 (Bolt) Quickie

Wow. I'm not sure there's much I can add to the discussion of Usain Bolt's jaw-dropping 9.63 in the 100M finals yesterday, except to marvel at how EASY it was for him.

He started slow -- cautiously, so he wouldn't get a false-start DQ -- was seemingly behind (or "behind"), then simply zoomed past the fastest group of runners ever assembled.

It wasn't even close. It was less than 10 seconds, but felt like an entire three-act play: Seeming conflict (he's behind!), thrilling middle (look at him surge!), triumphant conclusion (easy win!)

What also isn't even close is that Bolt is the greatest sprinter of all time. I think because of that -- not to mention the best-ever competitive set -- he deserves consideration among the Top 10 Olympians of all time.

Here's how good Bolt is: The second-best story of the 100M -- Tyson Gay openly weeping after the race -- was entirely a reflection of Bolt. Gay is one of the greatest sprinters of all time, did his absolute best... and it wasn't even close. Now, maybe he was weeping at not medaling, but even Justin Gatlin's response was a variation on "What can you do?"

Bolt's mastery of the event -- one of the handful of signature events in all of sports -- is so extreme that I'm not sure any other athlete or team is as dominant against an insanely competitive field as Bolt is of the sprinters.

That he does the entire thing with panache -- his pre-race and post-race preening for the cameras are part of the show, because he backs it up -- only makes it all the more spectacular.



*McKayla Maroney: Ah, McKayla. So pissed at losing, and I love it. She could have settled for a simple second vault to secure her gold, but she went for the tough vault -- because it's her event, because that's how she's hard-wired... to assume she would not just win gold, but nail the toughest routine (HER routine) while doing it -- and that's why I think she's even more awesome for it.

*Sonya Richards-Ross: Hell, almost as dominant in her event (400M) as Bolt is in his. What an electrifying talent.

*Andy Murray gets his title at Wimbledon, over Federer no less. That it was Olympic gold and not a Slam title shouldn't make it any sweeter for him that he was able to pull it off in front of his countrymen, who were jubilant for him in a way that the staid Wimbledon crowd never could be.

*Is it too late to say again how much I love a jubilant Serena? Her win made me think of my favorite athletes of all time, and she's on the short list. It was so fun to watch her domination of Sharapova with my kids and explain who Serena was and why I'm such a fan.

*Today: Gabby on the uneven bars. Women's soccer semi. And Spain vs. Brazil in hoops, with the loser avoiding the US as long as possible -- massive game-tanking potential.

*Non-Olympics news: The NFL preseason started last night, which means it's time... to start thinking about my fantasy drafts. (Nah, but just a reminder that the Saints and the post-bounty-punishment reality are the most compelling storyline of the season.)

*Meanwhile: In what shouldn't be unexpected, the NFL is negotiating with the Saints to reduce player suspensions -- the NFL got the P.R. bump it needed from "looking tough," and now they can back down on the suspensions because people aren't paying attention to it anymore.

*Penn State Watch: Did you see that Penn State football commit who backed out to pick Notre Dame? There's going to be a lot of that this year. (And that doesn't even count the top WR who bolted for Oklahoma -- as with RB Silas Redd, more power to him.)

*The Garrett Reid story is so sad -- you don't have to be a parent to lament how badly Andy Reid and his family must feel. Condolences to the Eagles family.

*The Mars landing should affirm your faith in what we can accomplish in science.

-- D.S.

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