Beijing Perspective: Bolt to Chase History Tonight, by Bob Ramsak, Note by Larry Eder


Here Bob Ramsak gives you some background into Usain Bolt, how his competitors view him and a consideration of what Bolt can do when he runs his heart out. It is my belief that Bolt will run 19.4-19.5 for the win, other medalists-Spearmon and Dix.



By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

BEIJING -- When the subject of tonight’s 200m final comes up –-and it has quite often over the past several days-– one general theme emerges: How fast will Usain Bolt run?

After his 9.69 world record in the 100m on Saturday --a performance that’s still extremely difficult to fully grasp-- attention has fallen on the 22-year-old Jamaican who, until this year, was considered a better 200m runner. According to him, it remains his favorite. That he’s in the shape of his life was vividly illustrated time and time again since the opening, most recently in the early rounds of the 200 when he redefined the discipline by adding the term “jog” to sprinting parlance.

His 20.09 win in the second semi was just that, a jog down the home straight. At least in comparison to how those who followed him appeared. American Shawn Crawford, the 2004 champion, worked hard to reach the line in 20.12. His teammate Wallace Spearmon worked even harder to finish third in 20.14.

That Bolt can be beaten hasn’t really been open to debate. Even among some of the runners who will line up against him.

“I’m not going to beat him,” said Zimbabwe’s Brian Dingzai, the runner-up in the first semi in 20.17. “I’ll just do my best.”

While not taking on that sort of defeatist attitude, even Spearmon paid him a further, if light-hearted, tribute. “He might be a 400 runner as well, but he’s lazy.”

A mark once considered untouchable, Michael Johnson’s 19.32 world record is the target pundits think Bolt should be aiming for. Both records have been broke in the same Olympics twice, but not by the same person. The records fell to Jim Hines and Tommie Smith in 1968, and to Donovan Bailey and Johnson in 1996.

But on the record, records aren’t crossing the Jamaican’s mind. He’s apparently too busy just having a good time.

“I’m just enjoying myself,” Bolt said after the semis. “You can’t be too serious, you’ve just got to enjoy it.”

He did make one promise though.

“I’m going to run my heart out.”

Others finals on Day 6 include the women’s 400m hurdles and women’s hammer throw.

Used with permission of Bob Ramsak, publisher of

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