‘Tell all, I am a living legend’‘Tell all, I am a living legend’
It had everything in it – the wit, the fun, the acting. Usain Bolt made his every single comment worth of a report for the world media. But the one comment that was going to make the best report was not a part of his press conference.
The long, entertaining press conference had just ended and the media people were about to leave the crammed room for a breath of fresh air, but Bolt stopped them to give his final message.
‘Gentlemen, please tell the people of your country that I am a living legend. Tell them to follow me on Twitter, my account is ------,’ Bolt said, with his face brightened by a boyish smile.
‘If you don’t do this I am not going to give you guys any more interview,’ he threatened, pretending as if he has still some doubts about the intention of reporters.
But Bolt knew it already and he was just having some fun. What he did in the field, an hour before the entertaining press conference, was alone enough to call him a legend.
He was a legend even before this event. His back-to-back Olympics win in 100-metre sprint decided his place in the pantheon of track and field, but Bolt was not ready to accept the status until he completed the double-double with 200-metre win.
Bolt finally permitted the world to acclaim him as a sporting legend after he delivered another superlative performance in 200 metres in the Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
He held his right index finger high asking the doubters to keep shut as he sauntered past the finishing line to complete his race in 19.32 seconds, just a little short of his Olympic record.
His time equaled the then world record set by Michael Johnson at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics which statisticians estimated would last another quarter of a century.
Bolt proved them wrong in Beijing, finishing his race in 19.30 seconds, before his 19.19 seconds at the Berlin world championships the following year. His 200-metre world record is as brilliant as his 100-metre record of 9.58 seconds.
Last Sunday Bolt joined Carl Lewis as the second man to retain the 100m title, but Bolt wanted something better as no one could achieve a sprint double in back-to-back Olympics.
‘There wasn’t a doubt after I won the 100m - I was really confident. There wasn’t a problem. Loads of people were talking, but they can stop talking - I am a legend,’ Bolt proudly announced after his win.
‘For me I can’t say about if I’m the status of (Muhammad) Ali and Michael Jordan. I’ve really set myself high in track. A lot of people might say “he’s as good as Jordan”, he was the best at his sport, I’m the best in my sport,’ he said.
One person Bolt was not interested to talk about was Lewis, who pointed finger on him soon after his Beijing win and was kept saying things that did not go well in Jamaican sprint community.
Bolt rather hailed Jesse Owens, the great American sprinter, who won four gold medals alone in 1936 Berlin Olympics. Owens’ feat included a sprint double and gold each from long jump and relay.
‘Definitely Jesse Owens, without a doubt,’ Bolt said when asked about whom he likes to be compared with. ‘He’s a great athlete; he’s been winning back-to-back for years. For me it’s wonderful to show the world that I’m the best,’ said Bolt.
Bolt went close to Owens with three gold medals in Beijing and was waiting to repeat the feat in London as he has still to run in the relay race. Victory in 4X100m relay on Saturday would give Bolt six Olympic track medals and will cement his status further.
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