Playing the Field: Usain Bolt gets beat, makes excuses

This is Usain Bolt's "You're welcome NBC for giving you an awesome Olympic storyline" face.

Usain Bolt might just be human after all. For those of us who watched the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, this is disturbing. I mean, the guy celebrated halfway down the track during a 100m sprint and still toasted the world-class field with ease.

But this weekend Yohan Blake defeated the world’s fastest man, which presumably makes him the world’s second fastest man and that’s really just downright embarrassing. With the right animal chasing me (say a wolf dog hybrid), I’m pretty sure I could be the world’s second fastest man.

The two were competing in the Jamaican Olympic trials in the first meeting since Bolt was disqualified for a false start in last year’s World Championships. Blake won that race, with a big, fat asterisk.

Blake ran a 9.75, while Bolt finished second at 9.86.

Like I said, embarrassing. So Bolt took the loss with great respect toward … Haha. Nevermind. He’s a sprinter. His ego is only outshown by NFL wide receivers. So of course he blamed everyone else. This courtesy of the Jamaican Observer:

Bolt said in the finals he saw Nesta Carter beside him flinch, “I lost
focus and when the gun went I was not focussed,” and in the semi-finals
“the guy next to me moved and it threw me off; I see these guys in my
peripheral vision and it is kinda hard to ignore them so when they move
its gonna throw me off a little bit and I got left and when I get left
it is hard.”

The strange thing is he said he couldn’t chase down Blake or Asafa Powell (who finished third) after a bad start, when anyone will tell you Bolt’s always been a bad starter and his strength is closing strong.

We’ll see both in the Olympics, as the top 3 all qualify for London. In fact, both Blake and Bolt run in the 200m today, which may be Bolt’s better event.

For now, let’s just revel in that epic 2008 Olympic final when he ran a 9.69. (He set a new world record at 9.57 in 2009 when he didn’t showboat.)

By the way, Justin Gatlin, who won the U.S. Olympic trials last week, finished in 9.80 seconds. Gatlin was suspended four years for failing a drug test in 2007 after he won the Gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. It’s remarkable that he’s managed to return to the top of the sport after missing four years.

You’ll also recognize Jeff Demps, the former Florida football player, who was in the race, but didn’t qualify for the Olympics. Give him a few years; he just finished his junior season at Florida.

Oh, and because I’m already in the business of showing sprint videos. Please, enjoy Maurice Greene.

Was this entire post an excuse to show Maurice Greene using the fire extinguisher on his shoes? No. But there’d be absolutely nothing wrong with it if it was.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter
@MetroNYSports. He could run a sub-10 second 100m no problem. Give or take five seconds.


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