Saturday, December 6, 2008

Usain Bolt To The Rescue

I am not the least bit surprised. In case you haven’t heard, Michael Phelps won SI’s “Sportsman of the Year” this year for winning 8 gold medals in Beijing. Usain Bolt deserved to win the title but apparently was not even close to winning for his riveting performances.

Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell called the selection of Phelps “the easiest choice I have made.”


But we all know the deal here. Track and field is far from being popular having been riddled with doping allegations and the fact that some of the sport’s former stars are currently serving jail time.

The Olympic Games became the “Michael Phelps Show,” setting a world record every time he dipped his toe in the pool and in the process winning over America.

Television ratings shot through the roof to watch the made-for-tv movie series that played out featuring Michael Phelps.

No one had heard of Usain Bolt prior to 8-8-08. But all of a sudden people were talking about the sport again and what a 6 foot, 5 inch sprinter from Jamaica was doing in Beijing.

For that reason, Usain Bolt is my Athlete of the Year - make that the galaxy.

Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.


  1. Agreed with your last comment. Definitely Phelps was most popular in the USA...Track & Field isn't all that popular there is it? In the Rest of the Planet however, certainly in Europe and many other places, Track & Field is much more popular than swimming and therefore Bolt is the true star. If a poll was done worldwide I am sure Bolt would beat the fiels in a wider margin than he won his sprint events.

  2. I don't have a problem with their selection. Bolt was outstanding, but Phelps' accomplishments were otherworldly. And I'm speaking as a fan and patron of track, mind you. I know squat about swimming, comparatively speaking, but you made the case for Phelps yourself: "...setting a world record every time he dipped his toe in the pool..."

  3. Remember that all was not equal in swimming as the richer countries could afford high tech swim suits which made a big difference in the results and therefore Phelps had an advantage over swimmers from many of the poorer countries.

    One other point, Bolt's ran with lace pulled and eased up after 70 meters .....

  4. Good point anony: swimming favors wealthier nations, while anyone can run. Whether an individual can afford shoes or not.

    No doubt, Bolt put down an amazing set of performances in Beijing.