No disrespect to Michael Phelps or anything, but when it came to jaw-dropping performances in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the real show-stopper was Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. He so effortlessly dominated the 100 meter dash that not only did he break a world record, he did it while celebrating over the last 15 meters or so. He set the record at 9.69, which is wild enough, but considering his chest-thumping while he crossed the finish line, it was only natural to wonder just how low he can push the record.
Well, plenty lower, as it turns out. At the World Championships in Berlin today, Bolt chopped over a tenth of a second off his record, recording a 9.58 and - of course - winning easily. Video is after the break.
Not to overstate the obvious, but that’s just insane. Tyson Gay just ran a 9.71, which was a world record a year ago, and he didn’t have a chance in hell of catching Bolt.
Also, unlike swimming, the dropping world record can’t be explained away with advances in equipment technology; it’s not like Bolt’s wearing cleats that have some special polyurethane coating that helps his feet explode off the track or anything. He’s just the fastest runner in recorded history.
As for what’s next? Honestly, Bolt himself probably doesn’t even know yet. Could he break the 9.50 barrier? It’s unlikely, considering the fact that he’s in peak sprinting shape at 22 and the wheels won’t last much longer. It could happen, though; he’s got a few years to keep hammering at it.
What about football? He’s a scout’s wet dream, considering his 6′5″, 190 frame (one that could easily go to 220 and still maintain elite speed by NFL standards). But there’s more to being a wideout than just running in a straight line, and we’re pretty sure he’d prefer a career where he doesn’t have to deal with strong safeties waiting to decapitate him every time he goes over the middle.
But damn, he’d be a revelation on kick returns and fly routes, absolutely scorching anybody foolish enough to try to cover him one-on-one. And you know everyone would want to see what his character could do in Madden. What would his speed rating be? 112?
But we’re just getting greedy. If all Bolt wants to do is run in a straight line for fun and profit, so be it. Maybe expanding into other sports would only have the effect of diluting his legacy instead of anything else. And really, if we want to see an outstanding sprinter turned into an average-at-best wide receiver, well, we already have James Jett and Willie Gault.