On the eve of the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, star sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell had tested positive for banned substances. The incidents had threatened the very credibility of sport. It was clear that the tournament would need something special to bury the taint. The Championships’ moment of redemption was perhaps best captured by Usain Bolt’s barefoot jig at the Luzhniki Stadium on the last day of the tournament.
Having won three golds in these Championships, the Jamaican has become the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the tournament. He surpassed both Carl Lewis and Allyson Felix (each with a tally of eight golds, one silver, one bronze) with his tally of eight golds and two silver medals. It has been an amazing five-year spell for the athlete, who has won at Beijing, Berlin, Daegu and London before covering himself in glory at Moscow. Fans can never have enough of the “superman” who once ran 100 metres in 9.58 seconds and 200 metres in 19.19 seconds. He is only 27. Will he add long jump to his list of events? Bolt does not appear to be interested at the moment. But as far as sprint events are concerned, he is most likely to start as the favourite in next Olympics as well. With six Olympics gold medals under his belt, the sprinter seems more than capable of adding to this number.
But Bolt’s greatness cannot be measured in medals. His win times at Moscow were among his slowest, neither did he break any world record for speed. What he did do was wipe the dirt and bring back interest to the sport. For, Bolt and Canada’s Donovan Bailey are perhaps the only two athletes never to be associated with doping. A breath of fresh air in the dope-tainted world of athletics, his place among the greats has been confirmed already.