LONDON – It was past midnight here, long after Usain Bolt electrified the Olympics again, having emerged from a slow start to not merely defeat but also break the will of the fastest group of humans ever assembled en route to another gold in the 100 meters.
He sat in a jammed news conference, talking about how the reality of losing in the Jamaican trials had awoken him. He talked about how a confidence borne from his own greatness had made him calm no matter how often he lumbered from starting blocks not built for his 6-foot-5-inch frame. He talked about how the energy from 80,000-plus onlookers left him in the optimum mood to run: calm, relaxed, and ready. He talked about how he'd eaten McDonald's before the race. "Don't judge me," he said.
And then Usain Bolt was asked how desperately he wanted to be known, now and forever, as a legend.
"Do I really need to answer that question?" he said.
He already had. Over 9.63 blistering seconds in a heavily hyped race packed with challengers desperate to unseat him, Usain Bolt answered whatever ridiculous doubts existed about his drive for greatness.
And neither stood a legitimate chance against the Lightning Bolt.
Legend? There is no other word.
"I went out to challenge a mountain," Gatlin said later. "To challenge the odds."
"I tried, man," Gay said, spent and emotional. "I tried my best."
Legend? This is legend.
"Best man won," Gatlin said. "And that was Bolt."
And suddenly, seven challengers were left in the dust, some stumbling across the finish line wondering how they could run so fast and never come close to catching the man in lane seven.
"I just ran," Bolt explained. "Pretty much."
Legend? Who else says pretty much?
Bolt believed enough in himself to write off the first 30 meters. He's slow at the start. The other sprinters are 5-8, maybe 5-10. They spring out of the blocks with grace and ease and hit full throttle early. Bolt stumbles a bit because he's too large for the attempt. On Sunday he didn't even start at the precise moment.
He had the best philosophy. His coach drilled a simple maxim into him, one that would explain away those weak starts with the promise of the furious finale.
"Stop worrying about the start, the best part of the race is the end," Bolt explained.
Legend? Who other than a legend doesn't worry about the start, the first third or half of a race this short?
So after 30 meters – even 50 – as long as he is even remotely close, the race is over.
"I got to 50 meters and I knew," he said.
And, really, that's the difference between Usain Bolt and the others, between the fastest people on Earth and a legend you can't invent.
All these ultra-talented, peak-performance star sprinters churned with all their might and all their will and all their training, and Usain Bolt was trying to decide which dramatic way he wanted to drive the stake through their hearts.
Taunt them a little bit? Set a world record? Settle for only beating his own Olympic mark, grabbing a flag, and saving a bit of energy for the 200-meter event still to come?
"How important is it to be a legend?" the legend was asked.
Like he hadn't already explained it.
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--usain-bolt-s-l egend-grows-after-he-breaks-olympic-record-in-epic-100-meter -final-.html
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