Simply Unbeatable!

IMG-20160814-WA0016Jamaicans living in St Kitts and Nevis, celebrate Usain Bolt’s 100 meters victory at Rio 2016 on Sunday August 14, 2016 (Photo: Courtesy Jamaican Kittitian (JamKit) Association)

Bolt is unbeatable! Bolt is a Champion! Bolt is a legend! Usain Bolt, a sprinter from Jamaica in the English-speaking Caribbean, is a global legend standing on top of the world. He bowed out of international competition, just two days before his 30th birthday, unbeatable in the 100, 200 and 4×100 meters events in three successive Olympic Games – a feat never accomplished by any other human being on planet earth. Bolt is an athlete for all generation; he seats on top of the mountain in track and field, with no equal, usually running unchallenged and, often, winning by a margin.

Complaining that he was not challenged in 200 meters, the “thunderbolt” drew down the curtain on his brilliant Olympic career by securing a sweep of the sprint titles for a third successive Games when Jamaica won the 4×100 metres relay crown on Friday, 19 August 2016. He ran the anchor leg which the Jamaicans won in 37.27 seconds to add the relay gold to the 100 meters and 200 meters titles he had won for a third straight Olympics. His ninth gold medal drew him level with Paavo Nurmi, the Finn who dominated distance running in the early 20th century, and American sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis as the most successful Olympic track and field athletes.

The Caribbean and the world had not seen one like him and we may not be fortunate to behold another like him in this generation. Are there performers like him in our midst? Like me, many do not even bother to discuss the question. As I have penned elsewhere, “we have produced champions in education, music, politics, economics, literature, science and technology and sports, just to name a few areas. DJ Bravo is right. Apart from our Noble Prize winners, (Derek Walcott and Arthur Lewis from Saint Lucia and VS Naipaul from Trinidad and Tobago), our current cricketers – Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne J Bravo, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle –  are world champions, sought-after by every global premier franchise and worshipped by millions because they bring people so much joy, so much happiness, and so many moments of pleasure and recreation, both in the sporting arena or in the living room. They make us as a Caribbean region and people more visible in the global society because they are so endeared to the Caribbean.”  In fact, many of our Caribbean champions or high achievers have been accorded the status of legends including Learie Constantine, George Headley, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Brian Lara, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge and Michael Holding – just to name a few from the field of cricket. There is no doubt that our Caribbean legends impact the global society; established global benchmarks; influence thought and policies; invoke admiration and commendation; and infect with recreation and pleasure; and leave with millions with priceless memories of moments of happiness.

All the Caribbean sporting personalities that I have mentioned above are champions and legends “in their own rights” but none compares with Usain Bolt of Jamaica. He was never beaten in an Olympic event in a twelve years. The official Guinness World Records, 05 August 2016 reads: “Arguably the most iconic of all records was broken by Usain Bolt in 2009 when the Jamaican runner completed the fastest 100 metres ever, in a ground-breaking time of 9.58 seconds. At the IAAF World Championships, Bolt shattered his own record of 9.69 seconds exactly one year after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. With Bolt shaving 0.11 second off, this was the largest ever margin of improvement in the 100 metres since the beginning of electronic timing. To demonstrate how much the sport has progressed, American athlete Carl Lewis earned the 100 metres record with a time of 9.82 seconds back in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics. If Lewis was in the same race as Bolt in Beijing, Lewis would have finished a staggering 10 metres behind. While at the Berlin IAAF World Championships, at just 22 years old, Bolt also achieved the Fastest run 200 metres in a time of 19.19 seconds. His achievements at the Olympic Games in Beijing secured three gold medals for Jamaica in the 100 m, 200 m and 4 x 100 m, and Bolt sealed his place as an Olympic legend. The popular sprint star soon became the highest paid athlete ever in track and field, with sponsors queuing up to get him to front various campaigns, and is certainly one of the most well-known names in sport.” The revision will include his records as the only triple winners of the 100, 200 and 4×100 meters in three consecutive Olympic Games.

Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, CD is on the athletic mountain top (in the company of Brazilian Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pelé in soccer; American Mohammad Ali in boxing, Barbadian Sir Garfield Sobers in cricket and American Michael Jordan in basketball), looking down at all other champion athletes in all sporting disciplines; perhaps looking up, only to the Statute of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (That is a probable supposition, seeing that he always look up to the unseen God and makes the sign of the cross before he runs each meet).  Of a truth, no current Caribbean or global athlete commands the right by achievement to stand on the same pedestal with Usain Bolt. The young man towers them all.  Perhaps, the only other sportsperson who deserves an “honorable mention”, but “not the right”, is Brian Charles Lara from Trinidad and Tobago who holds the world record for the highest individual score in first class cricket (501 not out), and the highest individual score in test cricket (400 not out).

What is the conclusion of the whole matter? Usain Bolt, from Trelawney in Jamaica, is a Champion, that is, a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in the 100, 200 and 4×100 meters competitions; Usain Bolt is a legend, that is, an extremely famous person, in the field of track and field particularly the 100, 200 and the 4×100 meters events; Usain Bolt is unbeatable, that is, he is undefeated in three successive Olympic games; Usain Bolt proved that over three Olympic Games (2008, 2012 and 2016) – a span of twelve years –  that despite the multiple pains of an ageing body, he is still like a bolt of lightning – a discharge of lightning accompanied by thunder.

These are achievements (performances, bragging rights) to celebrate; great things to write home about – to tell the world about! And man, woman and child in his home country and his country folks in the Diaspora have a right to celebrate “massive”. And Jamaicans did celebrate! The entire nation of Jamaica was watching their biggest star chase history at Rio 2016. Celebrations began after his semifinal race and only got larger after he earned the gold medal. The crowd erupted after Bolt’s win as the celebration carried into the streets. Now with a clean sweep, Jamaicans will celebrate until Christmas and New Year 2017. Thank God, we can all revel in the thought that Bolt is a global legend produced in Jamaica, in the Caribbean. And, we can share in his glory, achievement and perception because we are Caribbean people; Jamaica is part of CARICOM, a single market and economy that we are all part of – like him, we are all CARICOM citizens.

But, not so fast! Before we draw the curtain, let’s discuss the “takeaways”. What can we learn from the “thunderbolt” who lives in the same country with the “Gayle-force wind” we discussed in our last article? [By the way, what a sporting year Jamaica is having – indeed, their great athletes are making them do the bogle; heel-and-toe; pon the river, pon the bank; signal the plane; hot wuk; tek weh yuself; beyonce wine and the dutty wine – dancing their problems away]. What lessons can the Caribbean young generation (the millennials), learn from the young legend? Did you know that in many instances, he has disclosed the secret of his success?  Perhaps, this is what our young people can take away from Usain Bolt. Like Samson, what is the secret of his strength? Some Americans claim that he has horse-power and therefore cannot be overcome by man-power. His antagonists think, although they cannot prove it, that he takes enhancements. Local Jamaican believe that the secret of his strength is his food – the yams and ground provisions that he loves so much – apart from the chicken wings. Talking about his lightning speed, Nick Davies, General Secretary of IAAF, paid testament to his extraordinarily-long legs and that his stride is about 20 centimetres longer than his shorter competitors. Tyson Gay, the American champion, who ran alongside Bolt (who is 6 feet 5 inches) in 2007, in New York, told the press that it felt like “his knees were going past his face”.

What do we know about him? Despite his advantageous physic, Bolt trains very hard; he brings his body under very rigorous discipline; observes very strict dietary regulation and social discipline when undergoing training; he is, most of all, very self-confident; is not easily disturbed by his opponents or the hostile media; relishes a challenge; and demonstrates exceptional endurance for a young man. We may not be blessed with his physical features but we can develop the mental, social and attitudinal qualities that contributed to his extraordinary success. Concerning learning by instruction and example, Solomon the wisest King ever live said, “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—  Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” (Proverbs 1:2-5, ESV). Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13, NIV.

 

Peter Adrien is an author, business coach, financial counselor, economic adviser and columnist. Visit: www.goadriens.com. Contact him via email: peter@goadriens.com; phone: (869) 668-9752 (St Kitts & Nevis) or (305) 848-7604 (USA); twitter: @goadriens; facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Goadriens

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