Silent Archimedes

Posts Tagged ‘Usain Bolt’

Why NFL diva wide receivers and Olympic sprinters are the same breed

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 30, 2008

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

There has been all this talk about talented NFL receivers that are headcases for their team or the NFL. This year it has been about Chad Johnson and his Ocho Cinco name change, or Terrell Owens and his tears for Romo and complaints about playing time, or Plaxico Burress and his lack of time management and suspensions. In previous years, it has been about Randy Moss and his “I play when I want” or Joe Horn and his cell phone celebration or Michael Irvin and his complaints. The list goes on and on. Many people don’t understand this “me above the team” mentality. However, I think many times their outward confidence and look at me mentality is closely intertwined with their ability to succeed and make remarkable plays. To understand why, simply look at the  brethren of wide receivers, Olympic sprinters.

Both professions require an inner and outer confidence in order to succeed. Both require an almost cocky persona that transcends team sports. Sprinters are divas at a much greater scale than NFL receivers because they are the epitome of individual sport, the divaness can quickly reach an uncontrollable level. There are no constraints from team members or coaches to control their “me first” attitude. Look at Michael Johnson and his golden shoes. Look at Usain Bolt and his “staring at the cameras too early” or dancing. Look at Maurice Green or Donovan Bailey.

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

There is something about speed that is exhilarating, from car racing to supersonic jets to horse racing. But when the speed is the natural speed of humans, this brings a completely different feeling of freedom and power that person feels. The runner feels invincible and for that particular moment feels free from all that drags him down in the world. When he consistently runs faster than everyone he competes against, this invincibility and confidence increases in strength. When he breaks the world record, he is on a stratosphere that no other human has ever been on. He IS invincible. He is Superman.

Similarly with wide receivers, once they realize that they are playing among boys, the cockiness increases. Once they see themselves week after week being lauded on ESPN for their highlight catches or game changing plays, they start feeling that same invincibility. They feel that they are above the team; that the team needs them more than he needs the team. For most receivers, this invincibility has  been forming since the days of high school and college football. However, most of them also are greatly tested and humbled in their early NFL years. But to a few, like Moss, Chad Johnson and T.O., their natural talents quickly carried over to the NFL. The invincibility continued to grow without a hitch.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Faster than a speeding bullet

What one will notice is that the divaness in football and sprinting only exists at the cream of the crop. It is only at this level where the public and especially the team’s fans are willing to look the other way. This is especially true in sprinting, because it’s an individual sport. Although there is public pressure against divas at the mid-level talent of receivers and sprinters, the main reason that divas don’t exist at lower levels is more of a natural reason. The biggest fear of receivers and sprinters is failure.  Tyson Gay in the 2008 Olympics is a good example. His fear of failing in the 100m and 200m due to recovering from a  quad injury left him lacking in confidence and staring at defeat. He looked like a beaten man, even though the entire world still saw him as one of the elite sprinters. He had no confidence and no invincibility and therefore, the look at me attitude became a “don’t look at me” attitude. It is also this fear of failure that leads many sprinters to seek questionable methods to maintain or achieve that invincibility. The prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in sprinting was confirmed by the numerous convictions and suspensions of high profile sprinters, such as Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones. Similarly with receivers, if they have no confidence in beating a cornerback or making a catch, they prefer to stay quiet until they make some big plays.

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Since we do not expect Olympic sprinters to change their “me, me, me” attitudes, it is somewhat unreasonable to think that just because that breed of athlete plays in a team sport, that the divaness will not exist. Many of the receivers were track stars in high school or even college and they have already tasted the feeling of invincibility from God-given speed. From a team first mentality, this attitude is obviously a distraction and curse. However, there will always be a breed of them. The fall from invincibility of wide receivers can be a very  humbling experience. Many successful diva college wide receivers become quiet support pieces in the NFL, if they even make it in the NFL. Even one time NFL divas can become humbled. Randy Moss without Tom Brady is a skeleton of his old self. He has lost his invincibility and desire to attract public attention. This is the key to controlling the divaness. The receivers need to know that unlike sprinters, their invincibility is highly contingent on someone else, their QB. If they do not recognize that, and they still cause a problem, then it’s time for the team to move on without them. One perfect example of this was T.O. and Donovan McNabb of the Eagles. The Eagles did the right thing by trading T.O. after his public disdain of his QB brewed over. Now that T.O. is in understanding that Tony Romo makes or breaks him, then his divaness and crying is at least acceptable, although a distraction, to his own team and Cowboys fans. As long as wide receivers and sprinters perform, the divaness can be somewhat acceptable. The difference is when they falter. When a sprinter falters, he solely takes the agony of defeat. However, when a wide receiver falls from grace, his teammates, his coaches, and the fans also feel strongly the agony of defeat.

On a quick note, just look back to the days of playground football when you were a kid. What were the two positions you always wanted to play? Either quarterback or receiver. If you have the speed, being a receiver and making amazing catches was a sense of invincibility, freedom and flying.

Update – December 01, 2008

It’s amazing what has happened in the few short weeks since I wrote this article. Chad Johnson was suspended by the Bengals for a game due to team policy (unspecified). T.O. finally complained to the media that in order for the Cowboys to be successful, they have to be more like the team of 2007. In other words, give him the ball more. And, how can we forget Burress “accidentally” shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub and facing possible felony weapons charge. Unbelievable.

Update – December 12, 2008

Finally, T.O. and QB tension. I was wondering how long that honeymoon between Owens and Romo was going to last. Today, reports are surfacing that Owens is “jealous” of Romo’s close friendship with TE Jason Witten and that Romo passes to Witten even when Owens is open because of their friendship. Then Owens  proceeds to say that Romo and Witten secretly meet to plan extra plays! Hahaha! Make it 3 for 3 on Owens and his QBs.

High school background information:

Randy Moss – Won the West Virginia high school state championships for the 100m and 200m as a sophomore.

Plaxico Burress – Was a national semifinalist in the 400 intermediate hurdles at 52.6. Won the state 300 intermediate hurdles title at 37.6 as a senior.

Terrell Owens – Lettered four times in track in high school. Anchored the 4×100 sprint team his senior year at University of Tennessee – Chattanooga.

Related Link:

What’s going on with the NFL wide receivers brat group?

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Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt? Who had the greater Olympic achievement?

Posted by silentarchimedes on August 20, 2008

I’ll put in my two cents on this Usain Bolt versus Michael Phelps discussion.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

MICHAEL PHELPS

8 gold medals (7 world records, 1 Olympic record) (5 individual events, 3 team events)

Men’s 4 x 100m Medley
Men’s 100m Butterfly
Men’s 200m Medley
Men’s 4 x 200m Free
Men’s 200m Butterfly
Men’s 200m Free
Men’s 4 x 100m Free
Men’s 400m Medley

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

USAIN BOLT

2 gold medals (2 world records) (2 individual events, 1 or 2 upcoming team events)

Men’s 200m
Men’s 100m

Bolt will most likely run on Jamaica’s 4×100 team, which is favored for a gold or silver medal.

.

.

ANALYSIS

1. Physical toughness of sport - I ran the sprints in high school, and the training for it is pretty straightforward. A lot of one-event-up training for endurance. For example, if you are training for the 100m, you run a lot of 200m and 400m wind-sprints. You also do a lot of leg work, like stadium stairs, stretching and form. Reaction time training is a must to get good starts off the blocks. In the end, it mostly comes down to natural ability plus endurance training and diet. Training will increase your times, but it is not as much of a factor as natural speed. Sprinters with “lanky” builds, such as Bolt and Carl Lewis, have made up for it with natural speed. When you finish a sprint, the body parts that are in pain are mainly your legs and heart. The arms and chest are secondary.

Swimming is a totally different story. It is a full body work out. Too much muscle will not lead to success. Too skinny will not either. Although natural ability does make a big difference, such as Phelps body frame, the sport definitely requires a harder training regimen. If you’ve ever tried to swim a couple of laps in the pool, you’ll know what I mean. When you finish a swim event, your entire body is in pain… from legs to arms to back to chest to head to heart.

Edge: Phelps

2. Diversity of events - Phelps’ huge wingspan, feet size and body frame make him perfect for the butterfly event. It is also a big advantage in the freestyle. However, the wingspan appears to not be ideal for strokes such as the breaststroke and backstroke. Although he is ranked 11th in the backstroke, Phelps has not swam in either one in his 8 gold medal events. All have either been in the freestyle or butterfly. He also does not swim in events higher than the 200m. In looking at the butterfly and freestyle, they do require a completely different set of skills. The breathing technique is different, the body motion is different, thus stressing different muscles. However, the start of the race begins the same for both races.

Bolt is a natural 200m sprinter. In high school he ran in the 200m and 400m. It is not unusual for a 200m runner to add another event to  his repertoire. If he is known to have good endurance, he might add the 400m. If he is known to have a quick start, he might add the 100m. Carl Lewis was a 100/200 runner and Michael Johnson was a 200/400 runner. No one has ever done a 100/400 pairing before. That wouldn’t make sense because of the attractiveness of the 200 for both 100m and 400m runners. There are only minor differences between the 100m and 200m races. The 100m requires a faster reaction time and quicker burst of speed. The 200m requires excellent turn running, fast finishing speed and a bit more endurance. However, both are still considered all-out sprints with no pacing. Most 100m sprinters also run the 200m at some point in their track careers.

Edge: Phelps

3. Difficulty of reaching finals of events - For each event Bolt was in, there were 3 preliminary rounds and then the final, for a total of 8 races. Each round was on a separate day. The 200m race followed after the 100m final was over, and thus Bolt ran in 8 straight days. The 100m started with 80 sprinters, and the 200m started with 66 sprinters. The times of the prelims are not important, since part of the strategy is to make it to the next round while conserving energy.

Phelps, on the other hand, had a much tougher path to the finals. He had a total of 9 preliminary races to get to the 8 finals. The three relays did not have any prelims in which Phelps swam in. His teammates took care of that. Four of his 5 individual races had two rounds each of prelims. Only the 400m medley had one prelim round. Although Bolt’s races each had 3 prelims, none of his races were on the same day. Phelps 17 races spanned 8 days, with 2 days having one race, 3 days having two races, and 3 days having three races!

Edge: Strongly Phelps

4. Mental toughness required – This one is clearly for Phelps. With 17 races in 8 days. With all eyes on him, it requires the ability to completely focus on the task at hand, while shutting out all the distractions of the media, fans, other athletes, past races, future races, etc. It is unimaginable what he had to go through, pealing a layer off one by one. He must’ve felt a huge mountain on him heading into the Olympics. Bolt had no such pressure on him. Although there was some anticipation of a Tyson Gay – Asafa Powell – Usain Bolt 100m dream final, the pressure definitely was on Gay and Powell to perform. Powell was trying to eliminate the label of choker of big meets and reclaiming the world record that he lost to a pure 200m runner. Gay was trying to overcome his hamstring injury and to reclaim the US waning dominance in the 100m. Bolt had the world record and it was evident in the way he ran and showboated in the 100 that he felt no such pressure on him. Additionally, there just wasn’t that much media coverage of him until he easily broke the 100m record. The pressure he felt in the 200m is still nothing compared to what Phelps had to go through.

Edge: Strongly Phelps

5. Natural ability - This one is somewhat harder to determine. Although Bolt’s natural ability clearly has a profound impact on his performance, it is harder to determine how much of Phelps performance is due to natural ability instead of training. Swimming is more of a learned talent than running is. Although Phelps has an ideal body frame consisting of long arms, big feet, wide wing span and long torso, it’s hard to think he would be as good in swimming if he did not have the muscle and endurance from training. However, Bolt’s build might not be that different to normal athletes without Olympic training. His natural speed, height, quick long strides cannot really be learned in training.

In thinking about this area further, and reading Red’s comment below, I believe there is another component to think about when it comes to natural ability. What makes Bolt’s races so amazing is that he is only 21 years old and has not fully reached his natural potential. As he fills out his body both mentally and physically, it is scary to think what he can accomplish. Phelps appears to have reached his natural ability in this Olympics. Although the question of who had the greater Olympic achievement focuses on current results, the potential factor of the athlete has to be accounted for because of the WOW factor the public and media reacts to such achievements.Thus, I would have to give the edge of natural ability strongly in Bolt’s corner. He is still very raw.

Edge: Strongly Bolt

6. Walking the walk - Although many fans, media and other runners were clearly dismayed at Bolt’s showboating in the 100m final, I personally enjoy seeing that confidence and joy in track and field. I just wished he would have waited until he crossed the finish line. Not really because of the showboating, but because I wanted to see how fast he really could have ran. Blowing past the world record and other runners would have made a much bigger statement than showboating. I also have seen many races in the past where runners ease up too early only to be caught by other runners. However, Bolt clearly walked the walk. He seemed so relaxed and confident during all 8 races. He was clearly ahead of the rest of the field.

Phelps had a different story, however. At least two of his races were down to the wire, and not necessarily a lock for him to win. He clearly had to stay focused, and had no chance of celebrating. However, in the end, he walked the walk and accomplished something no one has ever done before.

Track and field requires a level of confidence and rivalry that borders on conceit. Swimming, however, is more of a fraternity. Where everyone respects each other and would never show up anyone else. It’s just two difference cultures, and neither is better than the other.

Edge: Even

7. Any changes in sport that might increase performance - The biggest swimming story leading up to the Olympics, other than the athletes themselves, was the new Speedo’s LZR swimsuits. It was obvious they were making a big difference in the world of swimming. By reducing drag, and increasing aerodynamics, swimmers in all events were bettering their personal bests. Swimming is going through a major evolution, in terms of science and technology. Suits are better. Technical analyses are better.

Sprinting has had no such evolution. The closes thing to change in the past ten years has been the sneakers. Because the clothing of sprinters is so minimal, and because runners run straight into the wind, it is very difficult to increase aerodynamics. Swimming on the other hand cuts through the water horizontally, thus allowing improvements in friction and drag to be made.

In this rating, the less change in the sport the better. That means the athlete is more comparable to old world records.

Edge: Bolt

8. Domination of world records - Let’s see the domination of Phelps’ and Bolt’s individual world records at the Olympics. We will only analyze individual world records, and not relay world records or Olympic records.

The metric we will use is something I call the record impact. Using the event’s 1990 record as the baseline (0%), and the most recent event record (even if held by Phelps or Bolt) as the topline (100%), how much did the the new record impact this record progression. The record impact is calculated as follows:

((2008 record – world record) / (1990 record – 2008 record)) * 100

Michael Phelps individual world records are based on long course 50m pools only

Event 1990
Record (s)
2008
Record (s)
New
Record (s)
Record
Impact (%)
Men’s 200m Medley
Men’s 200m Butterfly
Men’s 200m Free
Men’s 400m Medley
2:00.11
1:56.24
1:46.69
4:14.75
1:54.80
1:52.09
1:43.86
4:05.25
1:54.23
1:52.03
1:42.96
4:03.84
10.7
1.4
31.8
14

Phelps’ Average World Record Impact: 14.5%

Event 1990
Record (s)
2008
Record (s)
New
Record (s)
Record
Impact (%)
Men’s 200m Final
Men’s 100m Final
19.75
9.92
19.32
9.72
19.30
9.69
4.7
15.0

Bolt’s Average World Record Impact: 9.9%

This is unfortunate for Bolt. His showboating costs him here. If he ran hard throughout the 100m final, he easily gets the edge here. To beat the 14.5% record impact of Phelps, all Bolt had to run was a 9.67. This was easily attainable had he not slowed down. If he ran a 9.62, as some have predicted he could have done had he not slowed down, his record impact would have been 50% for the 100m, and his average world record impact would have been a gaudy 27.5%, putting the edge strongly in Bolt’s favor. Quite unfortunate.

Edge: Phelps

9. Quality of world record – Another thing to look at is how long the previous record was held before being broken in Beijing. If it was broken in Beijing prior to the final, such as in the preliminaries, we use the record prior to the Olympics. We also need to look at how many times the record has been broken since a certain baseline; we will use 1990 again. The final parameter to look at is how many people have held this record since the baseline.

An event that has a high quality of world record means it is difficult to break the world record, only a few athletes have had the world record since 1990, and that the last time it was broken was a while ago.

I calculate the quality of record as:

C – (A + B) = Years since 2008 record – (Unique athletes holding record since 1990 + Times record broken since 1990)

The higher the number the better the quality of the world record. Obviously this is not a scientific calculation.

Event Times record
broken
since 1990 (A)
Unique athletes
holding record
since 1990 (B)
Years since
2008 record (C)
Quality of
Record
Men’s 200m Medley
Men’s 200m Butterfly
Men’s 200m Free
Men’s 400m Medley
10
10
12
11
4
5
5
3
0
1
1
0
-14
-14
-16
-14

Phelps’ Average Quality of Record: -14.5

That’s a funny coincidence that Phelps Quality of Record is the same as his Record Impact Percentage!

Event Times record
broken
since 1990 (A)
Unique athletes
holding record
since 1990 (B)
Years since
2008 record (C)
Quality of
Record
Men’s 200m Final
Men’s 100m Final
3
9
3
6
12
0
6
-15

Bolt’s Average Quality of Record: -4.5

The edge here is obviously in Bolt’s favor. The quality of breaking the 200m world record balances out the ever changing 100m world record. It is obvious that the swimming sprints are going through an evolution, even if a lot of the records are being broken only by Phelps and a select few colleagues, such as Crocker and Thorpe.

Edge: Strongly Bolt

FINAL DECISION

So who wins the award as the greatest 2008 Olympic achievement? Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt?

Strongly Phelps = 2 * 2pts = 4
Phelps = 3 * 1pt = 3
Even = 1
Bolt = 1 * 1pt = 1
Strongly Bolt =2 * 2pts = 4

Final: Phelps 7, Bolt 5

Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals (SI cover)

Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals (SI cover)

Winner: Michael Phelps

One interesting to realize here is that the showboating of Usain Bolt actually costs him this contest. As mentioned in the 8. Domination of World Records, if Bolt had not slowed down and ran a possible 9.62, we would move 1 pt from Phelps, and add 2 pts to Bolt. Then the final score is Bolt 7, Phelps 6. Even if  Bolt runs between a 9.63 and 9.66, the edge is to Bolt, and the final score is Phelps 6, Bolt 6. Wow!!!!

What do you think?

Who had the greater Olympic achievement?

1) Michael Phelps
2) Usain Bolt

View Results

My related Olympic posts:

Suggested Phelps vs Bolt webpage:

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NBC Olympics equals “No Bolt Coverage Olympics”

Posted by silentarchimedes on August 17, 2008

The decisions by NBC during this 2008 Olympics has been mind-boggling, to say the least. If they are so worried that fans will turn away after Michael Phelps quest for eight golds are over, they should have been doing a better job preparing and accentuating other popular events. Here are some decisions by NBC that have made many Olympic fans frustrated:

1. NBC equals No Bolt Coverage. If you are into track and field, like I am, you knew that Tyson Gay’s chances for gold in the Olympics were gone when he went down with a hammie in the 200m US trials 2 months ago. You also knew that as good as Asafa Powell is, he is a choker at big meets. Yet, NBC continued to focus on a dream final of Powell, Gay and Usain Bolt. Bolt’s performance in the 100 has been totally dominating since he started running it 13 months ago. With his care-free, happy, dancing Jamaican attitude, he was the perfect athlete to introduce and show to the American viewership. Instead NBC never showed the most amazing 9.69s world-record breaking 100m final live. It was shown more than 13 hours later, after Phelps historical swim, near midnight on the east coast.

2. Why are Michael Phelps swimming events not shown live on the west coast? Instead they are shown tape-delayed or hours later? Their explanation that showing it live on prime-time increases viewership is morally flawed. A true sports fan, although a minority in total viewership, wants to see a historic event live at all costs. Imagine watching the Super Bowl on the west coast hours after it happened because of this reason? It’s just wrong. If necessary put it on twice, live and prime-time. It’s not like the events take 2 hours to complete. It’s a few minutes! You don’t even have to put it on NBC. Put it on cable, MSNBC!

3. What is NBC’s infatuation with beach volleyball? As much as I love beach volleyball, it’s not really a sport I want to see at night during the Olympics. I get to see it often enough on TV. Yes, we get the point that the women are in bikinis, but this is NBC. It’s not like they can really show the shots that men want to see (ie from behind, close-ups, esp of the Brazilians). So we are shown lots of women’s beach volleyball with too few spikes and blocks and too many dinks from afar. If you are going to stick to volleyball, I prefer indoor volleyball, which I never get to see except Olympic time. The times they did show it was very fun to watch. There were enough jump serves, digs, blocks, spikes, dives to last me a lifetime!

4. I feel for Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. This one is not so much NBC fault, although by completely focusing on Michael Phelps, the most awesome 1-2 punch by the US women’s gymnasts was neglected for most of the days. The US has never finished 1-2 in the women’s individual all-around. What Liukin and Johnson accomplished would have been the main story of any other Olympics. Too much attention was focused on the age of the Chinese gymnasts and not on the positives of other gymnasts.

5. Are there other countries in the Olympics besides China and the U.S.? The way NBC has focused on Chinese (rightfully) and  American athletes it almost feels like this is a two-country Olympics. I never would have known from the coverage that the Aussies are third in medals count, or that Great Britain has the third number of golds, or that Kazakhstan has 8 medals.

In the end, the 2008 Olympics will be defined by two topics – China and Michael Phelps. Everyone knew that going into the Olympics, and nothing was going to change that. The only one capable of drawing deserved attention to other athletes, such as Liukin, Johnson, Torres, Bolt, Lochte, Nadal, and Wariner, is NBC.

My related Olympic posts:

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Olympics – Usain Bolt and the new generation of men’s 100m sprinters

Posted by silentarchimedes on August 16, 2008

Disappointed at NBC

Before I begin talking about the 100m, I am so disappointed at the NBC broadcasts of the Olympics. How do you not show the Men’s 100m Olympic final live on NBC?? It’s one of the main events of the Olympics. It was scheduled for 10am EST. Instead they are showing a non-medal basketball match between the U.S. and Spain. Atleast switch to the race when it happens! The whole race takes under 10s! Jeesh. After seeing all the headlines of the results, we’re supposed to care when NBC finally shows it tonight? And NBC is acting like it’ll be live the way they talk about it. This is a joke. I already feel sorry for the West Coast population for not being able to see Michael Phelps races live.

My related post: NBC Olympics equals “No Bolt Coverage Olympics”

Insane Usain

Ok, on to the 100m. I’ll say it right away. Usain Bolt is the most amazing sprinter I have ever seen. He is a man among boys (picture courtesy of Getty Images, left, Dix, center, Bolt, right, Gay). He was utterly dominating throughout the entire 4 rounds. In round 2, he ran a 9.92s after shutting it down at 40m! He had a 5 meter lead halfway through the race and just coasted, looking to the right, then left and then right. The easiest 9.92 ever. When you compare his round 2 race to Asafa Powell’s and Tyson Gay’s, it was pretty obvious who was going to run away with the Gold medal. Powell shut it down at about the 75m mark but still looked like he ran hard. Gay pretty much ran hard all the way, maybe until the 90m mark, and finished second in his heat.

The 100m final was a complete domination:

Medal Country Athlete Final
Gold JAM Usain Bolt 9.69
Silver TRI Richard Thompson 9.89
Bronze USA Walter Dix 9.91
4th AHO Churandy Martina 9.93
5th JAM Asafa Powell 9.95
6th JAM Michael Frater 9.97
7th TRI Marc Burns 10.01
8th USA Doc Patton 10.03

(left, courtesy of Getty Images, from left, Dix, Thompson, Bolt)

Bolt’s 9.69 shattered the old world record of 9.72 he ran in New York earlier this year. He now owns the top two times, and is 0.05s faster than Powell’s old record of 9.74. That’s a mile in 100m terms. What’s even more amazing, is that Bolt didn’t run hard all the way through. With a huge lead at 50m, he once again started coasting, and pounding his chest and spreading his arms in victory. This all with a good 10 strieds left in the race!! What happens when he runs his hardest all the way? A 9.50?? He really should have done that and really shatter the record. Even with that, he beat the field by atleast 0.2 seconds. What hope do other sprinters have now? Powell ended up finishing 5th and his time wasn’t even close. Richard Thompson and Walter Dix (he should cut his hair. Get another 0.03s) looked good in the earlier rounds and deserved their medals. Gay didn’t even make the finals. Bolt was the only one that backed up his words, and fulfilled the hype of a Bolt-Powell-Gay final.

Bolt, 22, at 6ft 5in, represents the coming new generation of 100m sprinters. He is tall, takes huge strides, and has a much lankier build than the traditional muscularity of the past generation. After Carl Lewis’ generation of skinny runners ended in 1990, the next 15 years saw mostly big legged, big upper body runners dominate the world records. First Leroy Burrell, then Donovan Bailey and Maurice Greene. Even Powell has the traditional build.

What is amazing about Bolt is that he has the traditional 200m and 400m build. As a matter of fact, his main event is the 200m and he didn’t even start running the 100m until this past year! After Michael Johnson dropped down from the 400m to the 200m and shattered the world record, you knew other great sprinters would be looking to do the same. Bolt’s success in the 100m will make other 200m sprinters think about dropping to the 100m.

Bolt seems to not have reached his peak yet. He is still a raw 100m sprinter and can improve his technique and reaction times. It will be interesting to see what times he will get at his peak.

What happened to the United States domination?

The next question to ask is, what is happening to the United States domination of the 100m? The top six times and world record times are all non-Americans. Actually, the times are of Powell’s and Bolt’s, both Jamaicans. With Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin’s world records erased by doping suspensions, the United States haven’t had a world record holder since Maurice Greene in 1999. With Tyson Gay at 26 years old, it appears he has peaked with no chance of a world record. His greatest showings the past year gave people hope, but his hamstring injury during the US trials destroyed any chance of him winning at the Olympics.

Although Walter Dix, the reigning NCAA champion, won the bronze today, he seems to be flying under the radar and he has a good chance of improving his Olympic time of 9.91. However, to beat the new record of 9.69 would require a lot of him in the next few years.

My related Olympic posts:

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