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The Guardian

Bolt's showboating is a slap for us idealists

Usain Bolt may have broken the world record in the 100m, but his grandstanding left a sour taste, says Kriss Akabusi

The Guardian

August 19, 2008 12:00 AM

As the world went crazy at the sight of Usain Bolt winning the 100 metres final on Saturday, I stared at my television with annoyance. Don't get me wrong, what Bolt did was phenomenal, but it was too much showman and not enough sportsman, which after all, is what being an Olympian is all about.

Competing at this level is about being as magnanimous in victory as you are in defeat. The guys you are racing against must know you are doing your very best and it is up to you as a competitor to give it your all and leave a legacy for others to follow. Bolt did not do that because he did not run as fast as he could. Had he gone flat out, the guy could have done 9.50sec as opposed to 9.69, his eventual time. That may not sound much but believe me, it's a massive difference.

It's likely Bolt will eventually run 9.50, probably at one of the post-Olympic meets, but he did not do it at an Olympics and that is where it really counts. And there is no guarantee Bolt will get another chance to break the record at an Olympics; as the injury to Liu Xiang has shown us, your Olympic dream can be snuffed out in a heartbeat. No, this was Bolt's big chance and he did not fully grasp it. He could have been remembered as the man who ran 9.50 in an Olympic 100m final but instead he'll be remembered as the man who slapped his chest as he crossed the line and that is not in any way as powerful a legacy.

In that respect every British medal winner in China deserves to take a bow right now. They have given everything in the pursuit of success and, while their achievements are less flashy than Bolt's, their impact is just as significant. Kids back home will have seen the guts and determination of Bradley Wiggins, Becky Adlington, Ben Ainslie and the rest and feel truly inspired. I certainly did after seeing Kip Keino perform at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. He came into those Games with severe abdominal pains but pushed through and won gold in the 1500m. I was on holiday in Yorkshire at the time and remember running round a bandstand near where we were staying afterwards pretending to be Kip. He had become an instant hero to me - partly because he was black and, apart from me, there weren't many black people in Yorkshire at that time but mainly because he had given everything he had to win a gold medal and that, as far as I am concerned, is the true definition of a hero.

British heroes have definitely emerged from these Games. I think someone else who deserves a big pat on the back is Louis Smith, who won our bronze on the pommel horse, our first Olympic gymnastics medal in 80 years. I met Louis at a charity dinner in Peterborough four months ago where he was introduced to me and a group of other sportsmen as a local youngster who was going to Beijing, where he hoped to quite well.

Well, he has certainly done that. He left Peterborough as plain Mr Smith and will return as an Olympic medallist. I am delighted for him. Louis is a humble, young guy who worked hard for his bronze and I hope he is prepared for the way his life is now going to change.

It is a shame we have not had a similar amount of success on the track. Kelly Sotherton was someone I thought would do well but that's sport; it can be cruel sometimes. Hopefully Christine Ohuruogu will get a medal of some sort, hopefully gold, as should Phillips Idowu. He's come into these Olympics as world No1, is full of confidence and has performed well. This is his moment to show everyone just how good he is. I am sure he can.

But whatever happens, this has been a great Olympics for Britain. We have won golds in a range of disciplines and are close to the 41-medals target set before the team flew out to China. More importantly, we have seen the development of a group of hungry, talented young athletes who could really shine in London in 2012. When we were awarded the Games, people started panicking because they thought we wouldn't have any home-grown athletes who could do well in our own back yard. But Beijing has shown us that a new, talented, generation was in the system all along and in four years' time could be real world-beaters. For that the national lottery and big business also deserve a lot of credit for helping fund British sport; it was clearly money well spent.

Alongside the likes of Smith and Adlington, another group of top-class young British athletes will no doubt emerge from these Olympics. They will be the ones inspired to compete by what they saw on television, specifically that being a true Olympian is about pushing yourself to your limits and stepping into the arena with passion and pride in order to raise the bar of performance.

There is also scope for some chest-slapping but, if you want to be a genuine history-maker, do it after and not during the race.

Comments

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Dublin/irl

Showboating my arse. The guy looked around saw he was well clear and celebrated. It reminded me of how cycling sprinters celebrate at the end of stages in the tour de france or similar. He couldnt care less about the world record the olympic gold was more important to him. He didnt even realise he broke the world record til after his celebration lap. He didnt even go check.

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Manchester/gbr

I have to admit that I did feel a twinge of annoyance when Bolt started celebrating 15 m from the end. But that was because I thought he may have blown his chance to run a world record. When it was clear that he had still managed to break the world record then any annoyance was gone, replaced with sheer amazement. I appreciate the argument that you should never take things for granted in sport, and it is possible that he will pick up an injury and never run faster. If this does happen then people might rightly look back to this race and wonder just how fast could he have gone, and feel some regret that we will never know. Hopefully however this is unlikely, and we are instead left with the tantalising promise of even faster times to come. This on its own generates a tremendous amount of interest in the hundred metres, which can be sustained over Bolt's career.

Yes, Bolt is a showman, but we want our hundred metre athletes to be showmen. It's the ultimate testosterone driven sport, and if we can't have a bit of macho posturing here where else can we have it?

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Stockport/gbr

Eh? Why the criticism of Bolt? What did he do wrong? Oh, he could potentially have gone faster. What for exactly? This is the Olympic final. There is no tomorrow. To go as fast as you can is boring; to go faster than anyone else in an Olympic final and be overcome with the joy of running faster than anyone ever has is something more. He evidently got carried away 2/3s of the way down but so did I; so did Michael Johnson. What's wrong with that?

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Portland/usa

My only disappointment is in not seeing the fastest human being as fast as possible. In 4 years expect to see several very tall Olympic sprinters and some may defeat Bolt.

I don't begrudge him his antics, they did not affect the outcome of the race (against other humans, not a clock). In the interim I also expect people such as the Dallas Cowboys to speculate on what Bolt might do as a wide receiver.

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Seoul/kor

What exactly did Bolt do wrong? Compred to the American winners of the same event in the recent past, Bolt is level headed, articulate, and fairly modest. He is 21 years old, got carried away in the moment! At least his laugh isnt annoying, and he doesnt talk about Jesus too much!

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London/gbr

Come on, let him celebrate. He's a record breaker!!!!!

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Brighton/gbr

Bolt by name Bolt by a gift of nature unprecedented never before any one that could feel annoyance needs to take a chill pill and lighten up.
This is a victory and nothing can take away the sheer joy of winning gold for your country and loving every moment of the experience he won in spite of the thirty two blood test in seven days.Bolt is as humble as they come a true sports man who is gifted, Bolt was not watching the result board because he was a clear winner and that was what he went to the Olympics to do. no Jamaican has ever won gold 100 meters for their own country,he is a natural sprinter a legend in the making everyone i know is bursting with pride and amazement i wish him all the best and know he has more records to break......please let us be happy for him and his country and not nit pick when there is no need or justification for slagging him off. i will remember this race for the rest of my life because it is worthy.

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Minneapolis/usa

I want everyone who is complaining about Bolt's performance to match his accomplishment. When you can, then I'll listen to you. Until then, I don't care how much you complain about "showboating." This guy changed the sport in his 9.69 seconds far more than you changed your craft in the laborious time it took for you to write your article.

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Brecksville/usa

Bolt's grandstanding wasn't nearly as bad as the selfish grandstanding of Paula Racliffe and her egotistical exercise in vanity - taking the spot of a healthier athlete because she couldn't "bear the thought" of watching the Olympics on TV.

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Tokyo/jpn

Someone should say it - so good on you Kris. Take nothing away from Bolt's achievement. However, it wasn't the best he could achieve. The best is the only point of the Olympics, not getting a gold. A gold is then an award FOR the best - he got a gold for being the best on the field not being his best. Fine, but I - like Kris - felt something lacking in his sportsmanship because of that.

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Kingston/jam

who did more showboating in sports than Mohammad Ali? Bolt is nowhere close to this guy!

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Southampton/gbr

poth - how on earth did you come up with the convoluted 'logic' behind that claptrap?

tdmoose - spot on.

The guy was exhuberant, ecstatic, was about to win Olympic gold and wanted to celebrate it. How is that different to the marathon runner raising their arms as they cross the line? It's the fact that never have we really seen a 100m sprinter give themselves the time and opportunity to do something like it before which to my mind makes it even more remarkable. It was not disrespect to the Games or other competitors - just an expression of joy. Lighten up!

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Madrid/esp

When Kriss Akabusi can contemplate earning £100k (probably a conservative estimate) every time he breaks the world record and still advocates running flat out in every single race he runs, then I might be tempted to listen.
Until then, I can perfectly understand Usain Bolt's attitude. Of course, he was excited. Of course he might have been showboating. But, you show me someone who can talk about winning the 100m in such a dominant fashion, while keeping their head and I'll show you a liar.
Sergei Bubka broke the pole vault world record somewhere in the region of 35 times, most of the time only by a centimetre or two, because of the massive payout by sponsors at the big athletics meets. But Bubka always seemed to be praised for his financial canniness for such an attitude.
Hmmmm?

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Sydney/aus

Indeed. Why can't today's athletes stick to a simple, dignified "awooga" and then move on?

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Kingston/jam

Why them trying to make it look like usain did something terrible. he wasn't even running for a record he had that already he was just trying for Olympic gold, why shouldn't he celebrate. all mi a say Jamaica tek it to dem in Beijing. Usain bolt to the flippin word

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Stockport/gbr

Only just realised that this is Kriss Akabusi. What of Kevin Young then in '92, he had his hand up well before the line and eased up as do many Olympic champs. Could he have gone faster? Probably. Did he ever go as fast again. Not really close. Do I suspect he cares and looks back at that night in Barcelona saying oh if only. Ooo I could have gone faster? People must think I'm a loser? Not one jot.

Sometimes, I think that athletes' bodies understand the immensity of what they are doing better than their heads or indeed others.

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Riverdale/usa

Nonsense! The guy obliterated an Olympics final field with
ease. What a refreshing breath of fresh air to come into
track and field. The goal is to win the gold medal not set world records - just ask Asafa Powell which he would prefer now. Cut the guy some slack, we over analyze things too much. What you saw was the exuberance of a 21 year old with no pretense.The fact that he did not run full throttle to the tape makes his feat more amazing!
Stop being critical appreciate the accomplishment.
What did you expect him to do? Win with a stiff upper lip?

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Basingstoke/gbr

Loztralia - that's perhaps the best comment i have ever read on these message boards.

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Auckland/nzl

The peak of the Olympics is to win a gold medal. I could point to huge numbers of athletes who broke world records with gay abandon but never won a gold.
I find Usain Bolt a refreshing change. He seems to enjoy running. I get the impression the writer sees it as a duty rather than fun.
I really wonder why the writer of this article finds it necessary to nitpick so much. His reasoning escapes me.
Besides has he stopped to consider that Bolt wants to win the 200 metres? What if going flat out in the 100 ripped his hamstring? It seems to me he was being eminently sensible. He wanted to win and he did - end of story. He now wants to win the 200. Good luck to him.

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Kingston/jam

i guess you guys haven't come up with some criticism for our girls as yet why cant they just leave the man to celebrate what do they want him to do. you tell me because i honestly don't know. boss when you win the 200m mek sure u bus the gully creepa

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Kingston/jam

ps wat of michael phelps in the swimming and sean crawfor and justin gatlin in the 2004 olympics talking to each other and the race wasnt even finished it wasnt even a final so we couldnt say they were celebrating now could we

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Kriss, much as I respect your accomplishments and your run on the last leg of the 4x400m in Tokyo is one of my best athletic memories, you've got it wrong when it comes to Usain. He IS unconventional, he wasn't even aware that he had broken the world record until AFTER he had completed his victory lap. He JUST wanted to win and as a previous poster has already pointed out, at 80m he KNEW it was a case of mission accomplished, cue his celebrations. This is a guy who has also been burdened with a lot of expectations since he burst onto the scene as a 15 year old and won the 200m at the World Junior Championship in Kingston. At the start of 2004, he ran 19.93s and great things were expected of him in Athens, but injuries wrecked his chances. Fast forward 4 years and as he banished the memories of Athens, who can blame him for celebrating?

You're probably right about the time, if he had run to the line the clock would have probably stopped in the 9.5xs, but like most 21 years old, he still thinks time is on his side.

Away from the track, he's very respectful so I'll definitely cut him a little slack.

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Wellington/nzl

C'mon, Change the medication.

Bolt was celebrating. Celebrate with him - he was expressing and sharing his joy.

Many a GB sportsperson has celebrated wonderful achievement before the final whistle and many have celebrated with them.

Lighten up, enjoy the one off - the experience will be beneficial.

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Papeete/pyf

What's that? Bolton won something?

Oh, sorry, wrong blog.

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Warsaw/pol

he was splendid..........the star of the olympics. Phelps, yeah, ok, but Bolt is unreal. Coasting to a world record..........who is anyone to complain about this. Thats Bolt. And he seems a very nice young guy -- and Im sure he will break the 200 record as well. To scold him is rather, er, what? just snarky and petulant.

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Sydney/aus

I echo the sentiments of many comment posters here, in that Bolt's antics during the race were because of pure joy and an adrenaline-charge that must only come from being at the peak of your abilities and realisation of a dream.

Mr. Bolt can probably run faster, but I believe statements like 9.5 really are a little far fetched and show lack of insight into the mechanics of running. While Bolt was running with his arms out and punching his chest over the latter part of the race-his legs were still recovering at the same rate they were for the previous 70-metres.

So while at first glance the performance looks out of this world, remarks like "what would he have clocked if he'd run thru the line?" are misplaced. He wouldn't have run much faster. 9.65 most likely, greats like Carl Lewis showed that the more relaxed you are the slower you decelerate and Bolt's carefree manner and relaxed stride certainly reflect this ideal.

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Reading/gbr

Come on Kriss lets be serious! How on earth anything negative can be said regarding Bolts jaw-dropping display this weekend is beyond me. Showboating? Bolt finished streets ahead of everyone else, broke the world record AND still has more in his tank. Who would begrudge him this display of youthful exuberance?!! He has restored a LOT of faith in 'athletics' in the wake of the latest drug cheat 'storms' and has surely inspired a whole new generation of would be athletes back home in Jamaica and worldwide...celebrate don't berate!

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Bolt celebrating so far out and breaking the world record made that race iconic.

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Showboating? The man's a legend, best, most amazing 100m I've ever seen. He made everyone else look slow. Stop your whinging!

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Leeds/gbr

Nonsense Kriss, seeing Bolt so far ahead already celebrating had me laughing in incredulity and is something I'll never forget, an iconic moment in sport.

As someone mentioned above, what about American winners who tend to run about shouting, beating their chests while loudly offering thanks to the Lord. Bolt's positively reserved by comparison

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Watford/gbr

It's simple - coming first in the Olympics you get a gold medal. Breaking the world record at a grand prix meeting, you get $100,000 (or whatever). Break it by 1/100 second at 5 meetings and that's an extra $500, 000. Just look at Isinbayeva,the women pole-vaulter, who has broken the world record 22 times leading up to the Olympics!!!!

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Sydney/aus

After some surfing I found this site which lends support to my claims-it states he'd probably have run 9.64sec.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/08/beijing-2008-men-100m-race-analysis.html

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Sheffield/gbr

All that mind numbing training leaves athletes the dullest people on Earth.

The one thing that ruins Phelps's recent astonishing achievements for me, is the knowledge that his training involves swimming length after length after length after length etc.

Do not employ athletes to a) Write articles and b) Present TV coverage of athletics. It makes my neck ACHE!!!

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Watford/gbr

When Bolt "big up him chest" at the tape it is just a normal way in which some Jamaicans celebrate success.

This form of celebration has been around for decades there. Just visit the any national school sporting event there.

To be an Olympic 100 metre champion and win by that distance you cant knock than man Bolt as the style of victory has transcended sport.

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Manchester/gbr

I love the conspiracy theorists who are convinced that Bolt throttled back so he could raise the record incrementally and raise his income through bonuses. Try it yourself guys - walk across your living room with a stop watch in your hand. Now go back, do it again, and make sure that you're only three hundreths of a second faster. Try it again. And again. And again. Got within 3 hundreths yet? No? Now do it for a medal.

If Bolt wants to play a quick drum solo on his chest before making with the airplane arms and make a "neeeeeeyooowwwmmm" noise in the manner of small boys everywhere - and blow an Olympic record out of the water in the process - good luck to him. If he'd used the extra time he had in hand to run round to Asafa Powell's lane and bare his arse at him as he finished then I'd have more sympathy with Kriss Akabusi's position.

In the interests of fairness, Kriss - how did you celebrate finishing an individual Olympic event knowing you were the fastest man on the planet?

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Madrid/esp

I don´t understand what tree Kris is barking up either. Bolt has put fun into proceedings as well as demonstrating such awesome form. Wa wrong wid dat? chill out, and don´t try to make take the shine off celebrations. The Brazilian women´s footbal team celebrations make his pale into comparison!!

When thinking of Greene, and even the popular and articulate Michael Johnson look how they did big up themselves. Sure no American commentators were there saying to hold it down! One of the best things about gloabalisation -enjoy difference and let the Bolt do him ting! Hope to see more a dat wid de final tomorrow.

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Boy are these grapes sour!

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Karlstad/swe

Showboating can be ugly. There are few circumstances in which it isn't. Bolt's 100m triumph was one of those circumstances - he earned the right to do that by his extraordinariness. I got a bit fed up with him showing off his shoe deal to the cameras.

However, I'm not sure he'd be getting all this support if he had "USA" on his vest.

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Oxford/gbr

Tosh! You wouldn't begrudge any long-distance runner holding their arms aloft over the last stages of a race. You wouldn't begrudge a Tour de France cyclist holding arms aloft at the end of a stage.

I didn't even interpret it as showboating. To me, it was pure celebration of victory.

Get over it, Kris!

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Dublin/irl

Whine, moan, carp, grouse, this article is a really disgusting example of how no matter how amazing a performance someone gives, there will always be some sad little jealous creature out there who finds something negative to say about it. Congratulations, Kriss Akabusi. You saw history in the making, and all you thought was "That could have been better". You see a person turning into possibly the world's greatest ever sprinter and all you can think is "He's too cocky". You saw a man who genuinely didn't care if he broke the record or not, only that he won the race, and you projected your own shallow obsession with statistics and perfection onto him. Go sit in an armchair and drink beer ad remember past glories, you grumpy little troll.

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York/gbr

"Indeed. Why can't today's athletes stick to a simple, dignified "awooga" and then move on?"

Funniest thing I've ever read. Ever.

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I think the arguments against this strangely catty article have been pretty comprehensively made already, but Rojay deserves some sort of award for doing his best to bitch about a totally unrelated subject.

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Bristol/gbr

Are my peepers playing tricks on me?? Is this guy the real Mcoy??

Akabusi, Akabusi, Akabusi....you couldn't sound more bitter if you wrote that article with a lemon. Granted Bolt's celebration was trifle cockshaw and elaborate....but doesn't the world need the odd Fancy Dan here and there?? Does it not say in the Bible -...'and on the 3rd day, God did don a pair of spatz and create Flash Harrys'? I mean, I'm a fan of yours Kriss but if it came to choosing sides then the Big Guy Upstairs wins hands down every time.

And furthermore Akabusi, I think it's a little bit wide of the mark to bemoan the beahaviour of soemone who has just won an Olympic gold when you have never done it yourself. And hang on big guy, I seemed to rememmber a certain someone getting very excited after breaking the world marmalade sandwhich eating record on 'Record Breakers'. Or was that another former athlete turned tv preseneter who ran aroudn the studio shouting 'Awooga!!' before swiping Roy Castle's trumpet off him and playing a rendition of 2 Unlimited 'No Limits' in celebration? Granted and Cheryl Baker contributed with the odd 'Techno Techno Techno Techno!', but they were clearly peeved and just caught up in the rythm.

So to summarise Kriss, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Or onions for that matter.

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London/gbr

When questioned about this showboating on the BBC Michael Johnson said, he (Bolt) didn't come here to win the world record, he didn't come to do his best - he came to win & he did that.
I can understand why some find it galling that he won & broke the world record almost incidentally, but that is their problem not his. The rest of the 100 metres runners need to step up so he can't do it again. If they can't, he can do what he wants.

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Ealing/gbr

It's the 100M Kris.... that's what sprinters do. To try and psych out the competitors... what Bolt has done is to strike so much fear into all the sprinters - that no one will be able to beat him for the next 4 years!!

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Get over it, what Usain Bolt did, especially coming from a small island with a population under 3 million people, is incredible. To nitpick because you think that he didn't care enough is just churlish. You don't get so good that you can blow away the rest of the field without caring enough.

Furthermore, this isn't Bolt's one big chance, the kid is only 21 and has a few more olympics in him,and as spireax quite rightly noted all Bolt cared about at this stage was winning the gold. If he wants to showboat, let him he's young and excited! This article is just another puerile attempt to proclaim, what jolly good sportsmen we British are.

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Telford/gbr

Akabusi has a point and is well qualified to make it. Athletics in general (and the Olympics in particular) is not just about winning: it's about pushing the boundaries of what the human body can do. That's why field athletes with a gold in the bag carry on in pursuit of a WR once the individual competition is dead. They do this not just for personal glory, but for the sense of joy and history-making they share with the spectators and because they know the chance often only comes once in a lifetime. Bolt's young, a magnificent athlete, and with a bit of luck will set a new 200m record in Beijing before going on to even greater things; but for the sake of the sprinter who breaks Bolt's possible new 200 record, I for one hope he does it flat out to the tape.

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Luton/gbr

I like Kris Akabusi. He was one of the more interesting track and field athletes at the time. But that's the point. Most t & f athletes are just plain boring. It comes from being single-minded and driven. Fair enough but if someone does have a bit of character, like Usain Bolt, we shouldn't automatically condemn him.

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Oxford/gbr

This is such a ridiculous article. In the women's triathlon, the Aussie women stopped to collect their flags before finishing. In some of the velodrome events, Hoy has been so far ahead he has punhced the air before crossing the line. In the points event the Spanish bloke was signalling number 1 to the cameras with 5 laps left!

The fact that Bolt was able to open up a margin big enough to ensure victory in an event lasting less than 10 seconds is testament to his brilliance and made that race iconic in itself.

Why do we, and I think it is a British trait, consider that someone has to suffer some hardship or nearly cock things up on their way to success in oder to be great? Someone who makes things look that easy is just as much of a hero.

And if he strolls home in under 19.32 and breaks Johnson's "unbreakable" (as has often been toted) 200m record, then all the more respect to him.

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Derby/gbr

You got it wrong Kriss. If Bolt had set a fantastic world record then every 100m race from now on would be an anti-climax. He'd might as well pack it in and concentrate on the 200m and may be the 400m. Besides, he was happy just to be champ and there's nothing wrong with that.

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London/gbr

Kris Akabussi must be desperate for an angle to write about - Bolt was celebrating winning the greatest race ever run, Olympics aren't about records - they are a bonus - olympics are about medals. Bolt looked like the happiest man on earth for the last 20m of that race - and who can begrudge him that.

Good on him

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Redbridge/gbr

Ghosted article? Bit of a misjudgement by the journalist? Wouldn't be the first time.

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London/gbr

As a son of a Jamaician mother&father I am truly proud of the Bolt of lightning. Would have loved to have been on the Island this weekend,firing on all cylinders,but as a londoner will miss out this time round. Good luck Team GB

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Ealing/gbr

Bolt is a top, top sprinter. The way he managed to rule one olmypic discipline like that is frightening

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London/gbr

I understand exactly where Kris is coming from.

As a spectator, it was one of the most amazing sporting events that I have ever seen.

A 100m runner HAS to be at his peak to win the final at the Olympics. If he stutters, there are 7 other people capable of beating him on the day.

Not only did Bolt annihilate the rest of the field, he then proceeded to ease up and break the world record.

Fantastic.

But about 30 minutes later, I thought to myself, "If I was Bolt's coach, I would make him run around the stadium and do push-ups until everyone went home".

If you just enjoy spectacle, Bolt's performance will probably only be matched like sportsmen like Woods and Federer at the very top of their game. Winning and making it look effortless.

As a perfectionist, you'd be disappointed. The Olympics are not just about beating everyone else. They are about doing the best that you can. That's why stories like that of the injured British weightlifter stick out. Even Paula Radcliffe deserves some praise and then you partly understand why the Chinese 110m hurdler was so upset.

If he did his best and lost, 75% of the stadium wouldn't have broken down. He never got that chance.

Bolt did and decided to shut down 15m ahead of the line. It was his right to do so but I can understand why a professional athlete or a perfectionist might find that less than endearing.

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London/gbr

This sounds a little bit like sour grapes and I'm not sure why. Bolt amazed the world with his performance so by sitting on the sidelines moaning that he didn't do it properly comes over as peevish and small.

Sorry, you're entitled to your opinion but you're in a tiny minority on this one - it seems your audience are much more keen to see genuine joy than robotic efficiency.

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Ealing/gbr

1 Its called showboating because in the past, there used to be boats where people paid to watch gaudy shows. Some people didnt like them, but enough did for it to become standard in the English language. You will note there is no word for a boat full of dull shows about record breakers presented by one time athletes.

I for one love showboating as it makes events human. Its the same in every sport

2 This idea that now tall people will start running is nonsense. Im pretty sure fast people have tried to run before. Usain Bolt is stupendously quick. It is not because he is simply a little bit taller, just a no one thing sets apart people like Tiger Woods, Don Bradman or other such stand out performers.

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Newtownabbey/gbr

people on the blog need to calm down a bit. It's a consistent trait to rabidly turn on the author. I dont agree with what kris said, I was absolutely blown away by everything to do with Bolt's defining moment. It was amazing in every sense but you all must be able to see where Kris is coming from. As a successful and talented British olympian, he is entitled to his opinion and while I dont agree with him, I certainly wont start turning on him by making some pretty harsh pops. I find it incredible. Grow up!

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Brighton/gbr

Was the most spectacular event I can remember seeing at the Olympics. It was made even more impressive by the fact he wasn't on full tilt - fair play to him - beyond amazing.

I'm just relieved we got to see it at all bearing in mind the coverage is so heavily dominated by UK medal hopes / successes.

I like blade laser medal sail boat racing as much as the next man, and I'm very proud of how well "Team GB" has got on, but there are more interesting events and we're in danger of turning the BBC into a Fox station, such is the insular nature of the coverage.

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London/gbr

bolt sure gave his all...i don't think the rest did.

at 90m mark, who was right in the front? bolt.

the rest were struggling. surely not giving their all if they can't be in front. and if that's ALL they can give, they should really re-consider their career as athletes.

bolt was right to slow down. now 9.69sec ain't that difficult a time to beat. tht'll give the other losers a chance to get back at him.

if he had clocked 9.50sec (as the writer suggested), that timing might in fact put others off as one mark too difficult to beat.

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Galway/irl

"Bolt did not do that because he did not run as fast as he could."

Whats wrong with showing joy?, kriss U wernt too shy when it came to showing a bit of joy!

And what if he did push himself 100% and set a 9.5?

And what if he pulled up at the line and felt a twinge?

And what if he missed the 200 metres?

And what happened to sprinters conserving energy for their next race?

He won, he will probably win the 200 (in a WR time?), he is (hopefully) clean

Fair fcuks to him!

Nonsence article, i expect no better from the guardian ;)
This website has offically become a Fantasy Football porthole lol

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Stevenage/gbr

Maybe Bolt was thinking about the 4x200m he still intended to run?
Anyway, an iconic, stupendous run, certainly enough to start the thousand random 'did you see that 100m final!?' conversations I was in over the weekend.
And if Bolt had run it as fast as he could he'd probably render the 100m competition pointless until the next generation of runners come through - so no, can't agree with you there Kriss.

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Gloucester/gbr

"Come on, let him celebrate. He's a record breaker!!!!!"

Haw haw, excellent!

I happened to be in the pub when the race happened and the place was buzzing afterwards. People were loving the showboating. What an awesome spectacle!

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London/gbr

I just want to see Bolt go flat out to the end of the race as I really want to see just how fast he can do the 100m in.

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Aol/gbr


I agree with the article - his lack of focus is frustrating, as he could shatter the record for good. And even if he is paid every time he breaks the record, he might never be in this shape again. He could do a Dave Beasant and drop a jar of mayonnaise on his foot and lose the peak he's reached. When an athlete's at his peak, their focus should be powering them as much as their body.

As for he bloke who compared Bolt's antics to Ali's - the analogy isn't a good one.

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Vienna/aut

Ridiculous article; ridiculous sentiments. So, what next? Footballers shouldn't celebrate goals but rather console the opposing goalie? Bowlers should apologise for getting a batsman out? Batsmen should get themselves out on 99 to spare the other team's blushes? I shouldn't mow the lawn anymore...oh, went a bit off topic there.....

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The slight slowing and bit of celebration was just the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake. Made it even more special. I only saw it in a slowmo replay on the news for the first time and I was totally blown away because of the celebrations, they only added to the drama. Up there with both Ben and Michael Johnson, Freeman and any other great Olympics Athletics moment.

I don't agree that if he'd been wearing a US vest, the reaction would have been different though. Michael Johnson wore one too and he was celebrated. Some moments transcend our petty nationalism and Bolt's was definitely one of those. Roll on the 200m, can't wait to watch him go in that. Why doesn't he do the long jump? All he'd have to do is keep running...

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Telford/gbr

Kris Akabusi criticising Usain Bolt!Talk about the pot calling the kettle!

Akabusi was widely known as the clown of the track, the owner of a manic grin and an equally manic laugh.

Not only was Bolt's the most commanding win probably in athletics history but the one which will live in the memory of all who saw it in front of any other. Akabusi merely demonstrates his jealousy for all to see

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London/gbr

What a sad bitter little man. Akabusi not Bolt that is.

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Toronto/can

I agree with the article. Bolt should have ran as fast as he could for the duration of the race. yes, he has every right to celebrate his win but is it asking too much for him to wait until he'd passed the finish line?....is it asking too much to hold off the celebration for one tenth of a second? And why must I be a world class athelete in order to make these arguments?
When Bolt's record is eventually eclipsed he will then rue the fact he couldn't put off the showboating for another nanosecond.

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Telford/gbr

philmar

The ONLY athlete who could beat Bolt's record is Usain Bolt himself!!Perhaps in,say,50 years' time the IOC migh allow rocket propelled robots or human beings to run in these events?

The word "eclipse" is hardly one that many people would use anyway. His 9.69 seconds means that he won an Olympic 100 metres title with all the world's finest sprinters in the race and made them all look pedestrian-and boring!

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Winnipeg/can

Ah yes, the usual criticism of those more successful than ourselves, instead of congratulations. Glad to see a fine British tradition is alive and well.

I beg to differ, Usain Bolt will be remembered as the man who hit 9.69s in his first Olympic 100m final. As the first Jamaican to do so. As the tallest sprinter to do so. As a man who showed humility when he was interviewed about his achievement.

The achievements of certain others however do not immediately suggest themselves to me.

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Hull/gbr

Kris has alway been a favourite of mine (and no doubt many others), but this is wildly misplaced criicism. Bolt went there to win. He knew he'd won and he started to celebrate. It's no different from the last few seconds of, for example, the Stanley Cup finals, when the players know they've won and begin to toss their helmets and sticks into the air. Marathon runners often start waving to the crowd because they know the margin they lead by is a winning one. Bolt was no different, and it's a breathtaking thing to witness over and over and over again.

poth - Couldn't disagree more. Many many gold medallists begin to celebrate when they know they've won. Many more do not match their personal bests when winning gold, and often it's because they're not pushed to their best by the competition. Bolt wasn't really 'pushed' because there's nobody else who can match him, and yet he still smashed the mark and owns the two fastest times in history. He broke a world record in the ultimate arena.

The telling point is that none of his seven rivals has voiced the same type of criticism.

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Chandler/usa

Bolt is bohemian, and let him stay that way!
Why shld everyone do everything per protocol? He set out to win Gold didn't he? He did it, give the man credit. He's the fastest ever human being to grace this planet! And what's this nonsense about 9.50s on the biggest stage and he will be remembered more?? He's won the Olympics blue ribbon event, he smashed the world record, he destroyed the opposition, he slowed down towards the end, he celebrated before the end but he still smashed the world record! Who cares about 9.50?? No really? And if wins the 200M with a World record, who will ever care for some silly numbers???? His will be remembered as the single greatest sprint achievement in history!

Ironically, he will be the ONLY man to ever celebrate a 100M olympic final at the 80m line!!! Even if he put his head down and done 9.50s, it will get beat over the next 50 years, its inevitable, then what legacy would he leave??? At least the man has his celebration that will be talked about even 50 years from now! He's probably the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen, admire him for what he achieves and not ridicule for how he does it!!

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Can we expect a similar article tomorrow about Chris Hoy celebrating before he crossed the line earlier today?

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Sheffield/gbr

As a yardman would say, Bloodklaat!!! Kriss Akabusi is one hell of old sourpuss! He joins the likes of Trinidad's 100m Olympics medalist Ato Boldon and USA's NBC Bob Costas on the list of really mean spirit, possibly mentally retard, egoist group of people.

Usain Bolt was running as a mere youngster who won in his first Olympics. You also have to consider the context - four years ago he didn't get pass 1st round and was injured. The Olympics is after all supposed to be run in the spirit of "amateur" and there should be no hint of commercialism and professional aspect as in the World Championship. If Bolt want to break records, he can do it in the lucrative Championship meetings, otherwise let the man bask in exhilaration - he only has one life.

I watched the game live along with million of other people and my reaction was exactly the same as Michael Johnson - this was one of greatest piece of sprinting I ever saw in the last 3 decades and what a great memory to treasure.

My advice for Kriss Akabusi? Open your windows to let in fresh air and scream your lung out - it can be refreshing experience especially if you managed to wake your neighbours up.

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Sydney/aus

Are you jealous Kriss? Well done Bolt, refreshing to see a bit of personality / "showman' around..watched the 200m last night and it was amazing to see him slow up near the end and stare at the American beside him..."Awesome", as the Yanks would say! It's all about the Gold medals, good on him if he dioesn't care about the world records, he'll smash them in his own time.

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What a fantastic achievement. Let the guy celebrate any way he wants. I just wish....wish...from a purely selfish point of view that he'd gone flat out and obliterated the record.....This could have been an other-worldly record to compare with Bob Beamon's that might have lasted 20 years

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Akabusi's blog is an exercise in churlishness - what on earth is the point of it? Is the Grauniad really so desperate to fill space in CiF?

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Brighton/gbr

I agree, even though Bolt would have won anyway it was disrespectful, both to his own abilities and to his fellow athletes that he didn't keep going to the very end.

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London/gbr

I must admit to being a little annoyed by this piece. Usain Bolt is a precocious 21 year old who was winning his race by a huge distance so raised his arms in celebration, thumped his chest much as any other 21yr old under similar circumstances would have done. In my mind he was not trying to humiliate the rest of the field and he was not showboating. It would have been far more humiliating to the rest of the field if he had continued and powered through the line. By what distance would he have won then.

As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, that what athletics needs is someone like Bolt, he friendly, affable and a real breath of fresh air to the sport. Better him than some of these sullen prima donnas we sometimes sees on our screens.

I really do not see Kriss Akabusi's point.

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Kriss I could not agree with you more!!!
What Bolt's did was small minded at best and I hope he gets a chance to show us how great he really is.
Well done Britain!

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