Sunday, August 16, 2009

Usain Bolt shocks the world again with a dash for the ages...

BERLIN, Germany--On a warm humid night at the same Olympiastadion where Jesse Owens made track and field history in 1936 by winning four gold medals at the Olympics, Jamaica's Usain Bolt (left/photo by Paul Merca) made history with a dash for the ages that even Owens would have simply marveled at.

Reaching speeds that no man in this sport ever imagined, Bolt made believers of the witnesses attending Sunday night's 100 meter final as he clocked 9.58 in the sport's premier test of who can run the fastest.

In scoring the first sub 9.60 dash to history, the Lightning Bolt defeated two men who once held the world record in this event--defending world champion Tyson Gay, who ran 9.71 to set a new American record, and his Jamaican countryman Asafa Powell, who ran 9.84.

"I was definitely ready for the World record and I did it," Bolt said. "I didn't think I could run a tenth (of a second) faster than my World record, but for me, anything is possible."

According to the IAAF release, his was the largest chunk ever – by far – to be sliced from the 100m World record.

Previously, both he and Maurice Greene shaved 0.05 from the standard to earn the moniker of World’s Fastest Man. A few days ago, Greene suggested that Bolt and other top sprinters weren’t currently on the same planet. Bolt’s performance this evening gave Greene’s assessment an otherworldly ring of truth.



So profound was Bolt’s achievement that defending champion Tyson Gay clocked a sensational 9.71 in second, a national record, that was just 0.02 shy of the previous World mark. And the American, who is now the second fastest man in history, was nowhere near the Jamaican when the finish line was crossed.

"I'm disappointed to have lost the race, but i ran my fastest time," Gay said.

From a personal perspective, this has to be one of the greatest sporting achievements I've ever witnessed. I don't know where this ranks in the context of Ali-Frazier, DiMaggio, Namath in Super Bowl III or any of the great athletes who have performed at a level far above and beyond humankind's capabilities.

While the Olympiastadion and the millions of viewers around the world expressed joy at Bolt's feat, former Washington State standout Diana Pickler finished the two-day heptathlon competition with an eleventh place finish, scoring 6086 points.

In the afternoon session, where she jumped 20-5 3/4. she threw the javelin 41.13 meters (134-11), a sub par performance in her mind, but she came back and clocked a personal best 2:15,60 worth 884 points.

Afterwards, Pickler said, "I came in so prepared. I went in here faster and stronger than I've ever been, and I felt mentally prepared. It just didn't start out this way."

"The first day was a struggle, and it was so frustrating, because I knew that I did everything to prepare right for this meet. It was hard to go out there and be disappointed with the way things went yesterday. I was nowhere close to where I should have been."

"Today, I just tried to block everything out. I was really happy with setting a PR in the 800 after what I went through the competition. Setting a PR in the 800 is going to make me mentally stronger."

The only athlete with state of Washington ties competing Monday night is former Washington State standout Bernard Lagat, who runs in the semifinals of the men's 1500 meters at 8:10 pm Berlin time (11:10 am pacific time).

For more information on the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, please visit http://berlin.iaaf.org.

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