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Lightning Bolt strikes thrice


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Lightning Bolt strikes thrice

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(CNN) — From the heroic mythology of the Ancient Games more than two thousand years ago to the spectacle of modern-day athletic gladiators such as Usain Bolt, the Olympics has long been an awe-inspiring and captivating sporting event.
It has come to represent many things since Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s reinvention of the age-old gathering in 1896. Peace and harmony between countries, the redefinition of a host nation in the eyes of the world, the power of the individual to overcome challenge, the creation of a sporting industry worth billions of dollars, and the manners, morals and meaning that encompass the “Spirit” of the competition.
But such factors are centrifugal in nature compared to the core that gives the Games its energy: just as the radioactive fusion of hydrogen turning to helium gives solar power to the universe, it is the endeavor and execution of athletes that fuels the Olympics.
London 2012 has been no exception, even providing what some may argue was a vintage crop of sporting memories to add to the history books. Below, in no particular order, is this author’s take on the 10 that matter. Add your comments below if you feel there are moments that should have been included:
It is difficult to quantify how much 25-year-old Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt means to athletics at this point in time. Some estimate that his deal with sports brand Puma alone is worth $10 million a year and that his earnings equate to 80% of all the money in global track and field.
While these figures can’t be accurately quantified, it’s fair to say they might be due to rise after his performances in London. Given his fame, Bolt had more pressure and scrutiny on his 6 foot 5 inch frame than any other athlete in the world. Not only did he manage to keep such distractions from affecting his track execution, he captured the hearts of Olympic Stadium spectators with his theatrics, camaraderie and heart-on-sleeve sense of fun and enthusiasm for his time in the limelight.
He set a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds in the 100 meters and then won the 200m to become the first man to achieve a double sprint double. And then, on the last night of track competition, he anchored the Jamaican 4x100m team that set a new world record of 36.84 en route to gold — matching his achievement at Beijing 2008.
When he asked 80,000 people in the arena to start a “Mexican wave” and they obliged with gusto, it seemed like there was no limits to his talent.
The repetition of the triple-haul of golds sealed Bolt’s legendary status, putting him alongside the likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Pele in the pantheon of sport’s all-time greats.

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