Bolt – It’s Enough To Make You Jump Out Of Your Seat.

Bolt – It’s Enough To Make You Jump Out Of Your Seat.
19th August 2016 admin

As a sports writer you are not supposed to be a fan in the press box. You are supposed to be objective at all times, reporting the event how you see it. I recall the number of times us British media frowned upon, for example, Australians wearing Wallaby jerseys at Australia v England rugby test matches. I guess this is why the written press think the BBC coverage, excellent though it is, can sometimes descend into downright cheer-leading. Anyway, there are two occasions in all my sports-writing career when I have felt my backside lift from my chair. This wasn’t because I was being a fan. It was because I was amazed at what I had just seen. The first was in 2003 and THAT drop goal. To see first hand England win the Rugby World Cup was pretty special, but to see the stadium clock in the corner of my eye tick down to just 20 seconds remaining when Jonny unleashed his wrong foot to send a wobbly drop goal through the posts sent some kind of force that made me lift from my seat. I wasn’t cheering. I was just gaping in wonderment. The second time is the reason why I am writing this today. It was the world athletics championships in Berlin in 2009. Usain Bolt lined up for the 200 metres final. I left the press box and wandered down to the very front row of the stand where, amazingly, the nearest seat to the finish line was vacant. It meant that I was the nearest person to the Jamaican outside the track when he crossed the line. Now, I could see that he had won and that it was a fast time but, whenever you watch the man cross the finish line your second action is always to turn to the official timer. And there it said it. 19.19 seconds. I had been there to witness Michael Johnson in Atlanta do his Forrest Gump impersonation and smash the world record. I had been there in Beijing to see Bolt beat it 12 years’ later with 19.30. But seeing him reduce it by 11 hundredths of a second made me rise from my chair again and just marvel at the greatness of a man who has (save for maybe Mo) kept track and field alive. Last night he failed to break his incredible record but he did win a 3rd successive 200m gold and an 8th in total. I’d be amazed if he does not make it nine with a third sprint relay gold too. The world will be happy. And I may jump off my seat again!