How great is Usain Bolt? In many way, as great as Michael Phelps

Consider this photograph:

Where are the other runners in the final of the 200m event? The final! And no one else is even close. Bolt is one of those rare athletes, like Michael Phelps, who is playing at a different level than his competition.

Watching Bolt this Olmypics, the things that impress me are:

  • he set the 100m world record and the 200m world record in this Olympics.
  • he broke a very difficult world record (the 200m).
  • not only did he out-do the 100m world record, he did it while pulling up at the last part of the race!
  • he is a tall man, unlike most of the other world class sprinters
  • he’s just turning 22.

It will be interesting to see if the height of Bolt affects the nature of sprinting. Perhaps we shall see more and more taller men — and women — dominate the sport in the future. Just like I expect to see more and more champions in swimming will come to resemble Phelps in their physique, so to I expect to see more and more champion sprint resemble Bolt.

We’ll see in London in 4 years whether or not I am right. :)

More on the photo and the success of Jamaica here: The New York Times > Sports > Slide Show

Great Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

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