As one of the few die-hard track and field fans left in America (besides those directly involved with the sport) I love Usain Bolt. Not only because he’s the fastest man ever created by God but because he has made track and field revelant.
For a long time I have contested that America doesn’t care about the sport of track and field except for those few days every four years during Olympic competition. It is during the Olympics that Americans can collectively cheer for the athletes as one patriotic body.
Last summer when Bolt broke both the 100 and 200-meter world records, although we — as Americans — was wowed by his feats, we weren’t appreciative because he beat US — the Americans.
This summer, Bolt’s Jamaican heritage doesn’t mean squat.
This summer, Bolt has become the sport and people love him for that.
It’s true, if Bolt hadn’t ran faster in the World Championships than he did in the Olympics, he still may have still been an after thought. (America was in gah-gah over Michael Phelps during the Beijing Olympics putting Bolt on the backburner.) But with the two fastest times ever recorded in human history and a smile that lights up the stadium as much as his feet, Bolt has now become a household name. And track and field has become must watch TV.
Four years ago, no one was able to say that.
But four years ago, there wasn’t Bolt and just maybe track and field will never be viewed the same.
And that’s the best thing that could ever happen to the sport.