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London Olympics: Can Usain Bolt Replicate Beijing Record?

Twenty five-year old Jamaican, Usain Bolt, who shocked the world at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by shattering Donovan Bailey’s 1996 record will be the cynosure of all eyes when the Olympics starts in London in July. Bolt in his prime has thrilled his fans with his unprecedented speed. As the London Olympics beckons, the double sprint gold medalist seems poised to replicate the Beijing feat KINGSLEY OPURUM writes.

On August 16, 2008, one man changed the sport of short distance race not only in one country, but throughout the entire world.

That man was Usain Bolt of Jamaica, who shocked the world with his lightning speed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His 100 meter time of 9.69 seconds shattered the previous Olympic record held by Donovan Bailey, who set the record in the 1996 games at 9.84 seconds.

Aside from Bolt, the closest competitor was Richard Johnson of Trinidad and Tobago at 9.89 seconds, followed by a 9.91 seconds feat by Walter Dix of the United States. What is even more impressive about the Bolt’s feat is that he literally stopped running his hardest about 20 meters short of the finish, as he was far ahead of everyone else in the race. One could only imagine what time he could have had if Bolt had run his hardest all the way through the finish.

Since then, though, Bolt has continued to bring the 100 meters world record lower and lower, with his best record to this point being the 9.58 seconds. This is an incredible feat, considering that many as little as ten years ago did not believe a human being could run below ten seconds, let alone the 9.5 seconds range.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances such as injury, Usain Bolt will be competing once again for the 100 meter gold at the 2012 London Olympics. No doubt, he will be trying to break the world record once again.

The chairman of the Olympics in London even stated recently that he thinks Bolt can surpass the 9.4 second mark at the games, which makes it a possibility. But how will the sprint sensation fare in the 100 meters quest for gold at the 2012 Olympics? While it may seem like a sure bet for Bolt considering his feats this year, there are three reasons to consider ahead the event.

According to a new rule put in place by the international governing body of track and field at the start of 2010, if a runner has just one false start he or she is disqualified from competing in the race, as opposed to earlier practice when one false start penalizes everyone, and then the second false start would disqualify the offending runner.

In the 2011 World Championships, Usain Bolt was actually disqualified from the 100 meters race in South Korea for a false start; Yohan Blake ended up winning that race with a mark of 9.92 seconds.

It is a ridiculous rule to say the least, in that no one is perfect. But rules are rules. If this was to happen to Bolt in the 2012 Olympics in London who knows it could take the shine out of the games and certainly not good for his career.

The issue of injury and drugs hasn’t come up as much, but could play a considerable factor when betting on Bolt to win this year’s 100 meter race.

Usain Bolt had to finish his 2010 season early with back trouble, and as recently as February 2012, there are still news articles circulating that he is still nursing some pains in that area of his body.


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