Letters to the Editor

Win first and leave ‘legend’ to historians

Wednesday, June 20, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

Most Jamaicans would be thrilled if favourite Usain Bolt were to win his two gold medals and anchor the sprint relay team to a third at the London Olympics. Not a single Jamaican would shed a tear if he were to win without breaking world records, although it would be nice icing on the cake if he did.

But that doesn't seem to be the way Bolt is thinking. The British media is reporting that he is already working on his “I-Am-ALiving-Legend” speech. Disappointingly, neither the local nor overseas media seem to have bothered to question Bolt closely as to exactly what becoming this “Living Legend” entails.

In the absence of answers, one is reluctant to speculate. But what it certainly does not mean is simply winning 100m and 200m gold medals in London. It probably also does not mean simply defending his Olympic titles successfully and equalling or shaving his world records. I suspect it means defending them successfully and smashing those world records to smithereens!

And there's the rub. While this is laudable, to achieve this “Living Legend” status one suspects that Bolt, who does not yet possess a perfect start, will have to produce a perfect start, at least in the 100 metres. That means pushing things right to the edge.

This sounds ominously like the same mindset he appeared to exhibit at the World Championships in Daegu. We all know how that worked out. It is very risky to prescribe limits for such an awesome talent as Usain Bolt. Even if he is last out of the blocks in London, he could still chase down the field and win comfortably. But don't bet the rent money that Bolt with his "Living Legend" talk has any intention of winning like that. This "Living Legend" talk makes me as nervous as his driving habits. Someone should have a quiet word with him: win first and leave the "legend" business to the historians.

Errol WA Townshend

Ontario, Canada

ewat@rogers.com

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