Tuesday, August 30, 2011

no comment, just sayin'. [4]

So, there's this guy, right here. His name is Usain Bolt, he's from Jamaica and he is currently the world record holder for the fastest legal time in running 100 metres, 150 metres and 200 metres.

He's also quite the showman, with respect to his conduct in competitions and his declarations, pictures and TV appearances when he's off the track.

This Sunday, during the Athletics World Championship in Daegu, South Korea, the 100 metres final showed many surprises in the blockstarts, as seven of the fastest men on the planet did not enter the final: two were suspended for doping, two were injured, and three failed to qualify (source: The Guardian).

However, three competitors were Jamaican and Usain Bolt was present among them, clearly the favourite for winning this final leg of one of the most spectacular athletics competitions. With fractions of seconds before the referee's pistol went off, Usain Bolt.. well, bolted to a false start. That shouldn't have been a problem, only that the (not-so) new single false start rule of the IAAF (beginning of 2010) states that a competitor is disqualified after a single false start. And so, this year's running track for the 100 metres final in the Athletics World Championships counted just 7 lanes after Usain Bolt got disqualified.

The moment.

In the second immediately following the incident, the only man that realized what had happened was Usain Bolt. Then, the other competitors. Then, the entire stadium. After the shock went away, the fastest man in the world refused to stay on the field and left the stadium.

After this final (won by Yohan Blake, another Jamaican, with 9.92 seconds), tens of thousands of opinions concerning the single false start rule blew up in the written press, on the radio, TV and online. Now, the IAAF is under enormous pressure to reconsider the said rule; a rule that, among other reasons, has a most interesting one for its existence: the televisions. It seems that the televisions requested this rule so that their commercials would not be delayed in any way, because those commercials are paid by the second, with big, big piles of money. Ironically enough, Usain Bolt is one of the main sources of income for sports televisions, TV shows, covers, magazines, companies and commercials.

The athlete's message was spoken out loud for all the sports journalists and photographers that were stepping on each other to take his picture after he got disqualified: "Looking for tears? That's not going to happen."

P.S. Credits for the pictures: click on them and see where they take you. Also, you might want to read this article from Sports Illustrated.