Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Usain Bolt Should Be Thanked, Not Criticized

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

Steve McGill at Hurdlesfirst.com wrote a great piece about the ridiculous criticism of Usain Bolt’s exuberance and excitement that he displayed in making Olympic history and realizing his dreams.

McGill wrote:

“Costas [Bob] spent a whole week kissing Michael Phelps’ butt, then when something other-worldly happens on the track, the first thing he does is find something critical to discuss. “
“Personally, I had no problem with Bolt’s celebration. Bolt is a breath of fresh air in a sport filled with a whole lot of pollution. He’s funny, he’s gregarious, he’s playful, and he gets down to business when it’s time to get down to business. What more could you want? And your boy Ato Boldon (shown on left) had the chance to school Costas on his ignorance, but instead, he agreed with him. You mean to tell me that someone who trained with Maurice Greene, Jon Drummond, and Larry Wade would agree that Usain Bolt needs to tone it down? Please tell me I’m dreaming, because this can’t be happening.”
Originally, I thought that somehow I had missed something. They don’t get the fact that Usain Bolt single-handily resuscitated the premiere event at the Olympic Games from the dark alleys and back into the mainstream.

Track is cool again.

IOC President Jean Rogge suggested that Bolt “showboated” too much. "I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish, and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters," Rogge said in an interview. He also said of Bolt's actions that "you just don't do that."

Those sentiments are stuck in the past and smack of being out of touch. Let the 22-year-old Olympic champion have his day in the sun.

As far as I can tell, Bolt is well liked by the world and by his competitors. The NBC cameras revealed a light-hearted man who joked with his countrymen and competitors a like. There was not a statement of issue from any competing athlete on the matter.

Rogge ‘s criticisms are wrongly aimed at an athlete who brought excitement to the Olympic Games. Maybe the Belgian bureaucrat should have spent more attention focusing on the Chinese age scandal that unfolded right in front of the world‘s eyes. That is the kind of issue that really does chip away at the credibility of the games.

The IOC and folks at NBC should sending Bolt flowers and singing his praises for putting down three world record performances that the world is still talking about and that delivered better than anticipated television ratings.

The aforementioned parties should remain silent on the matter of showboating and just cash their bonus checks at the bank.

By Jay Hicks.


  1. Interesting discussion. Pierre de Coubertin's vision for Olympism was not just Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) but the Olympic spirit, too, which "requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." Extreme showboating doesn't exactly exemplify the Olympic spirit. Of course, for the most part, neither do the Olympic Games, not any more.

  2. Hey Jimmie: Thanks for your comments. You bring up some very interesting points. Coubertin could not have envisioned the kind of games that exist today - but hey it is what it is. The fans love spectacle--and games are if anything, that.

    Jay Hicks
    Prerace Jitters

  3. Jay,
    From ongoing conversation over the past week or so regarding Bolt, I have heard and feel myself that he is 22,perhaps in a different decade his display would haven been completely inappropriate,but this is 2008 and much of the world enjoys embraces "exuberance and flash". It is very easy for many to say what he should have done,but virtually impossible to for any to do it and experience the flood of emotions, the immediate rush of a world record of this speed.

    I think the frowning response of some reflects some of what is wrong with Track and Field(unprogressive and people who remember when the world record wasn't in the 9's running and have to much input on it's development and forward progression. I hope this will change.

    Congratualtions Usain can't wait to see you again and again.

    Great article