Usain Bolt: An Enigma Hard to Solve

Sudeshna BanerjeeAnalyst IAugust 17, 2009

BERLIN - AUGUST 16:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 100 Metres Final during day two of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. Bolt set a new World Record of 9.58.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It is year 2080 and a little child turns over the page of a fairytale book and arrives at the story that starts with, "Once upon a time, there lived a man called Usain Bolt. He ran and ran and ran like there was no tomorrow, like there was not a single competitor with him. He ran like no other human ever did.’’

No, this is not my confused and befuddled mind trying to make up a fairytale but trying to provide a very realistic idea. For what Usain Bolt did at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Aug. 16 was nothing short of a fairytale.

The man has defied every possible logic, laws of physics and biology so far but his latest offering puts him apart…far apart from probably this vapid planet of overcrowding simplistic mortals, for he dwells in a planet of his own.

And that is validated when you see him run. He simply weaves magic not with hands but with his legs. You are consumed totally in that labyrinth, following him like a stunned, astounded, and insane individual totally hypnotized and deprived of words.

And even though his race finishes even before you realize, it leaves a jarring note that resonates through every nerve of your body while you struggle hard to come back from the world of fantasy.

A World Record, 9.58 seconds? Someone slap me hard and pull me back to earth for I cannot fathom how it happened, it is beyond the capacity of the grey matters of my brain.

And what is even more incomprehensible is the fact that he maintains his schoolkid-like flamboyant ways before a race and immediately after it is over, he just comes back to his plain, laid-back, indefatigable self, posing confidently for the cameras in his usual animated style.

While the entire world is sucked into the extraordinary moment that he just created, he manages to do that, and that too is so graceful and so effortless.

Bolt has always remained an enigma hard to solve, a question hard to answer, and above all, a persona hard to imitate for he will continue to quell all perceivable forces of nature with his unbelievable ways.

The fact that the Jamaican had just completed only one year of running professionally in the 100m and he already holds the record for the fastest and the second fastest is something absolutely incredible.

An ardent lover of cricket who would have been a fast bowler had he not turned to athletics, Bolt has continued to defy all the established notions in the athletics world with his lanky figure, usually considered a bane for the sprinters.

Yet he succeeds in doing the unthinkable.

At the Bird’s Nest in Beijing he simply flew like a bird itself to the finish and the world was left gaping.

Michael Johnson’s long-standing record in 200m was shattered and the 9.69 seconds that he achieved in 100m was thought to be pure and pristine, never to be touched by any mortal individual, except one—the man himself.

A car crash and a minor surgery on his precious legs could not subdue the indomitable will of this man and despite not having regained full fitness, he hit the tracks in 150m and recorded the fastest ever timing at a 150m race in Manchester.

He qualified for the World Championships and set his pre-Worlds itinerary to as minimum as possible, but was nowhere close to his Beijing magic mark, let alone a new World Record.

Perhaps the mysterious Bolt had been planning to save up enough fuel to rocket his way at Berlin and leave us grappling in the wake of another performance that doesn’t even come remotely close to our imaginations.

Tyson Gay too had never imagined the outcome—with a U.S. National record and the third best timing that a man has ever run at 9.71 seconds, he had to settle for the second best and that too defeated by a margin of 0.13 seconds!

Bolt made every other contender look so humane...

Unflappable, impenetrable, and yet so endearing a personality, Usain Bolt will continue remaining an enigma and his insuperable feats are only embellishing a sport which had been the victim of ignominious doping issues in recent times.

Athletics finally looks free from the clutches of its own demons and unequivocally this is the best time for every athletics fan to rejoice.

And the ''Lightning'' will strike once again when the men’s 200m gets under way on Aug. 20.

Until then, stay tuned to the Track and Field page of B/R for more news from the wonderful World Athletics Championships in Berlin.