Letters to the Editor

Let's be glad to have lived in the time of Bolt

Friday, August 11, 2017

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Dear Editor,

I believe Usain Bolt had mentally retired from track and field at the end of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. As a fan of the sport for decades, it was my observation that, despite the phenomenal accomplishment of 'three-peating', his hunger for the sport had dissipated. The voice inside his head that drove him over his sensational career had stilled.

This final year was about wrapping up and saying goodbye and, apart from his own desire to depart on his own terms, he was persuaded to stay for another year, urged by his legions of sponsors, and to a lesser extent the IAAF, which needed his presence to bolster the saleability of the 2017 World Championships. Bolt's presence certainly strengthened the ability of the organisers to pull in a huge television audience and assure billions in revenue.

I, for one, am quite certain that for the rest of my lifetime I will never see another athlete of his class and skill, and I am grateful to him for restoring my faith in the sport.

Usain gave strength to the ordinary Jamaican's belief in self, and to a large extent his superhuman ability made some of us feel that we were entitled to gold medals in men's sprinting. Bolt's contribution over the last nine years was extraordinary because of his extra-ordinary abilities. That notwithstanding, there are many among us who may not remember that, after all, he is a mere mortal/human, and that time, like the weather on the strongest mountain, wears us all down as humans.

In the circumstances, a bronze medal — though it may sully the colour of medals in his vault — may well serve as a talisman to the end of his time.

Let us be glad to have lived in the time of Bolt as we resettle into what was the normalcy of Jamaica's participation in international athletics with its predictable ebbs and flows.

Nothing in life, save for death and taxes, is ever guaranteed.

Happy 55, Jamaica.

Richard Hugh Blackford

Coral Springs, Florida

richardhblackford@gmail.com

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