Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I left at 10:25 tonight for a very precisely scheduled 52-minute run. I was going to do a 15-minute warm-up, 5 repeats of 4 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy and a 5-minute cooldown. That would get me back to my building at 11:17, into my apartment at 11:19, and give me one minute to find the men's 200 final on the TV and sit down on the floor. I did all of the above according to plan in time to see the last of the introductions and the "on your marks" call.

Usain Bolt is also a master of scheduling. After the gun sounded, he took precisely 19.30 seconds to cross the finish line, two-hundredths of a second faster than the world record. Michael Johnson ran 19.32 at the Atlanta Olympics and I always thought that the record would either never be broken or be broken in the middle of the 21st century. I've never seen anyone so big move so fast. If you saw this race tonight, you witnessed history. Bolt's 19.30 alone, without his 100-metre gold medal and world record, is as impressive as Michael Phelps' 8 gold medals put together.

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than Bolt's run was that he ran it into a slight headwind. Also in the list of absurdities about this race is that the silver medalist, Churandy Martina, hails from the Netherlands Antilles. Hands up if you had ever heard of the Netherlands Antilles, IOC abbreviation AHO, or know just what on earth is an Antilles.

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