The Chronic: Jamaica Smokes Men’s 4x100 Relay

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IAugust 22, 2008

All these years I thought the rastamen smoked the good weed. Turns out that speed is more their thing. 

In another transcendent performance, Jamaican sprinters, led by the incandescent Usain Bolt, burned up the track at the bird’s nest and shattered the 16-year-old world record by 0.3 seconds.

Trinidad and Tobago finished nearly a second behind, making the Jamaican win the most impressive in over 70 years.

Though the U.S. men’s squad was noticeably absent from the final due to a baton fumble in the semi's, it is hard to imagine that much could have been done to handle both Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt, the former and current holder of the 100m world record.

Doping issues aside, it’s clear that the U.S. sprinting motto in this year’s games might well be, “Just say no.”

However, it’s hard not to tip your hat to the Caribbean boys, as I can’t remember being this impressed with a team of sprinters, particularly the young prodigy Bolt, who hardly looks like he’s running as mortal men do.

His strides are so long that it is difficult to believe that he’s even moving fast until you consider how effortlessly he leaves the competition behind.  The guy is like a cheetah.  His feet must touch the ground about half as many times as anyone else’s.  Amazing.

For all the back and forth about who’s been the best performer of the Olympic games, an issue I’ve also weighed in on, it’s time to sit back, relax, and recognize the perfection we’ve witnessed. Two athletes, one all abdomen and the other all legs, have dominated their fields like never before.

Two freakish body types more characteristic of what we might find on The Island of Dr. Moreau.

And though I can say that I wasn’t the least bit surprised that the Jamaicans dominated the relay the way they did, I was also completely fascinated by it. Probably in the same way that I’m never surprised when Tiger Woods sinks a 40-foot 18th hole putt to win a major, but am nonetheless exhilarated by the moment itself.

Who really wants parity anyway?

Parity is another word for the lowest common denominator, something that we are all too familiar with in our work-a-day lives. The Olympics are SUPPOSED to be the purest release from this, free from politics, infighting, relentless posturing, and ass-kissing.  Of course we know that most times these malignancies work their way into the games, too.

For some, this is enough reason not to watch. But every now and then, we see something special.

We see that even though we’re against the totalitarian treatment of the people of Tibet and the travesty in Darfur, even though we’re against taking children away from their parents, censorship, and inhumane worker’s rights, that just maybe there is a reason to put down the picket signs for a moment.

If only to recognize the very best that humanity has to offer, rather than the very worst.

And though I'll be the first to admit that in many ways the Beijing games were fake, I also took away something undeniably real.

Fake for all the reasons that a myriad of authors have already articulated more eloquently than I, but very real in the sense that, for some reason, I feel better about humanity for having watched them.

If Usain Bolt can run like that, shouldn’t anything else be possible?  If a tiny island nation can rise up and humble the world powers, shouldn’t our own voice be that much more potent?  What do we call something that somehow defines this level of aspiration, hope, and vindication?

The rastamen might just call it the chronic, and there is little doubt that the games could aptly be described as the ChronicLES of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. May their adventures, and ours, continue.