Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lightning Bolt

I wish I could have written this. It's what I wanted to say.

Bolt rose with the gun and streamed around the bend, emerging with a lead of several yards. The crowd roared and opponents strained. They ate up the yards, he devoured them. In a trice, the race was over and it only remained to follow the winner. Did anyone see the rest? It is hardly fair, but that is sport. This time Bolt did not ease up till the line had been crossed. Even then he did not celebrate straight away. Instead he looked at his time on the screen. Already gold medals were not enough.

In those two races, Bolt proved himself to be the greatest sprinter ever to put on spikes. But it goes further. His trim body discounted any suggestion of steroids. His style was stunning. His celebrations were entertaining. Moreover, he is an athlete in a Games overtaken by unsuitable sports, like soccer and tennis, and unbalanced by others such as rowing, sailing and cycling with more variations than Elgar, and therefore a disproportionate number of medals. (Hey,wot about swimming??)

Bolt rose above all that and thereby confirmed that, though sport can stoop, it can also soar.

•Peter Roebuck is an international sports correspondent who is based in the KZN midlands.



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