Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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For those of you that don't already know, my father isn't much of a "sports fan". If it isn't golf or Nascar, chances are good that he will be flipping the channel. It is because of that routine that I was surprised to see him watching the 2013 IFFA World Track & Field Championships when I came home on Sunday afternoon. As the cameras focused on one particular athlete before the 100-Meter Final, my dad looks at me and asks, "Who is that?" I simply answered, “His name is Usain Bolt and he is the fastest man in the world.” I understand that may be a bold statement, but after Bolt ran a 9.77 second 100-Meter to win his sixth gold at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia and to go along with his six Olympic Gold medals and two world records, it sounds to me that the resume fits the title.
For most people, Bolt grabbed the world's attention back in 2008 during the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The tall and confident 21 year-old from Jamaica took Beijing by storm as he won Olympic Gold in the 100-Meter, 200-Meter and 4 X 100-Meter. Ever since that summer, Bolt has been the face of track & field, and he has wore it very well. His outgoing and humorous personality has allowed Bolt to become a fan favorite as well as a must-have endorser. I still think to this day that I will run faster after I drink Gatorade, but we both know that will never happen. His popularity and fame from 2008 put the pressure on for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, but with the pressure on, the Jamaican Sensation impressed once again.
Bolt won Gold Medals in the 100, 200 & 4 X 100 once again and jumped his fame to a whole other level. Bolt’s speed has made him who he is, but his nationality has made him one of the most intriguing athletes in sports. Not many high-profile athletes have come from Jamaica (besides Sanka from the Jamaican Bobsled team), so the entire country has welcomed Bolt’s popularity and Jamaican pride with open arms. While always representing his nation with their colors and the Jamaican flag, Bolt has single handily captured the heart of Jamaica and that of the world as well.
Bolt has become a polarizing figure for sports fans across the world, so not many people were surprised as he crossed the finish line in Moscow on Sunday and a bolt of lighting made its way through the sky. Many people would like to call that a coincidence, and even though it may be a super cool one, I believe that it was the sports gods paying their respects to an athletic icon in this day and age. As the days go by, sports evolve, faces change and icons progress, but those of the past are never forgotten. In the world we live in today, baseball has Derek Jeter, basketball has LeBron James, football has the Manning’s and with the help from those of the past, Usain Bolt has put track & field on the map.
It may have not been the Olympics, but I will never forget Bolt’s gold at the 2013 World Championships. Getting to witness the master at work not only cemented his dominance on the sport once again, but showed that the Jamaican Lightning Bolt isn’t afraid to take on his nation, his world and the respect of greater beings.