Usain Bolt Learns the Price of Fame, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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Usain Bolt is a very talented athlete. He is the focal point of his countries dreams and many sponsors. The day of him going anywhere unnoticed is gone. Such is the price of fame. Or is it?

Remember the Michael Phelps brouhaha over a college party where a certain herb was smoked? I found that, personally, a bit hypocritical. I am not condoning the action, but I do believe that such experiences are part of growing up. An athlete like Phelps, training six to eight hours a day, has not had much of said normal life. Smoking marijuana or not smoking it, has nothing do with the systematic use of performance enhancing drugs to cheat the international sports world. Mr. Phelps also needs to realize, and my guess is that he does, that the adjective Olympian requires a higher level of actions, per the general public. Olympians answer, to use an old commercial, to a higher authority. It was stupid, the kid apologized, case closed.

Lack of privacy is not only the price paid for celebrities, there is the argument that none of us have privacy anymore. A few years ago, Scott McNealy, the Chairman of hte Board of Sun Microsystems, said, in an interview, that privacy was a thing of the past. He was right. With billions of cellphones with cameras that can take photos and films, the only way a party remains private is if the phones are collected, with coats, at the door. ( Not a bad idea).

Usain Bolt made a comment in the German magazine Bild. He made a comment about Jamaican kids knowing how to roll a joint. (As if kids in other countries do not?). He apologized, and that should be that. Usain is learning that, as a celebrity sports person, his every breathe is considered. With the advent of twitter, blogging, 24/7 television, 24/7 TV via phone, there are five hundred outlets looking for the next story and for many, facts be damned. Lots of places to cover one's victories, but also one's mistakes.

Photo by Photorun.net

EME NEWS (APR 14, 2009)

KINGSTON (JAM): Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt apologized over his comments on youthful marijuana use as reported in a German newspaper Bild. „I want to apologise to the Jamaican people if at anytime it may have come across that all young people roll a joint,‘“ Bolt said in a statement issued through his manager Norman Peart. „I would also like to urge the upcoming stars to stay away from any kind of drugs, as it is not of any value to them or the sport you participate in.“ Bolt, who stormed to three sprint golds in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was quoted by the Bild tabloid as saying „When you‘re a child in Jamaica, you learn how to roll a joint.“ The Bild story sparked a storm of criticism in Jamaica, and Bolt called the situation „unfortunate“. Jamaican media are informing.


JAMAICA DOMINATED

VIEUX FORT (STL, Apr 13): Jamaica dominated the 38th Carifta Games with total of 67 medals (39-15-13) and was the number one country at the event again for the 25th straight time. Trinidad got 29 medals (9-10-10) and Barbados as third best 21 (4-9-8). During last day in the anticipated 200 m finals 15 years old Jazeel Murphy of Jamaica showed his talent and won the U17 race in new games record 20.97 (+1.4). The junior final was supported by illegal +2.3 as Nickel Ashmeade won in 20.56 ahead of Ramone McKenzie (20.60). 100 m winner and fastest in the semis Shekeim Greaves of Barbados injured and walked into the finish as 7th (33.90). In girls finals Jamaica also got both golds. Fast 23.62 (-0.4) in youth category by Shericka Jackson and also very good 23.20 (+1.5) for Jura Levy in junior race. Expected Jamaican middle distance golds for Natoya Goule at 800 m (2:09.27) and Kemoy Campbell at 5000 m (14:40.67, games record). Barbados Kierre Beckles won the 100 m Hurdles but could not improve her games record because of too much wind (13.31, +2.6). Stefan Fennell won for Jamaica the youth 100 m Hurdles in 13.00 (-0.3) and Jehue Gordon of Trinidad won the 110 m Hurdles in 13.86 (+0.7) and got his second gold after 400 m Hurdles. For Trinidad also second gold for Gavyn Nero after 1500 m at 800 m (1:51.75). In final 4x400 m relays Trinidad stole the show in junior boys category with 3:10.20 (Jamaica second 3:11.49) as the remaining three finals were won by Jamaica. Youth boys clocked 3:16.53, youth girls meet record 3:38.09 and junior girls 3:36.21.


OTHER NEWS

EDINBURGH (GBR): Jelena Prokopcuka who completed a hatrick of Bupa Great Edinburgh Run victories in 2007 will chase a fourth title when returning for this year‘s race on May 3.

The 32-year-old Latvian best known for her two victories in the New York City marathon, comes back to the Scottish capital having already shown excellent form this year. Writes David Martin.Prokopcuka will start the 10 kilometres race with the knowledge she has plenty of strength in her legs after winning the Paris half marathon crown last month.

Then last weekend she showed plenty of pace over the 10km distance when taking third place in a hotly contested Great Ireland Run in Dublin. „The course was probably at little to flat for her there,“ said Andy Caine, the event‘s elite athletes manager. „Jelena in the past has thrived on the uphill stretches of the Edinburgh route which have always proved to be the foundation for her victories.“ Caine refused to hint who that will be but with Portugal‘s European cross country silver medallist Jessica Augusto and the highly experienced Aniko Kalovics in the field and who both know the course very well, a close contest is on the cards. Kenya‘s former world 10,000m gold medallist Sally Barsosio will lead the African challenge, although suprisingly none has ever won the women‘s title since the meeting‘s inception four years ago.


FAYETTEVILLE (USA): Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field head coach Chris Bucknam announced the signing of two more student athletes for the 2009-10 season on Monday. Fresh Carifta Games winner in High Jump Raymond Higgs of Bahamas with 221 PB and Cameron Efurd who is a native of Rogers, Ark. and attends Rogers High School. Competing in the middle distance and distance events, he holds personal bests of 1:56 in the 800 meters, 4:14.6 in the 1,600 meters, 9:18 in 3,200 meters and 15:20 in the cross country 5K.

STAWELL (AUS, Apr 13): It is one of the greatest stories in the 128-year history of the Stawell Gift - a Cinderella slipper for a Cinderella moment when a young unknown became an Australian sporting star. Australian media are informing. Aaron Stubbs, an 18-year-old beach sprinter from Lismore, won the nation‘s oldest and richest running race. He did so in a six-year-old pair of running shoes that were not his and did not fit. The shoes had been given to the 12-year-old Stubbs by Australian sprint legend Matt Shirvington after the starstruck young fan pestered Shirvington for his spikes during a meeting on the Gold Coast in 2003. So persistent had the young boy been that Shirvington - who initially refused to give up his shoes, claiming they were too smelly - later relented and mailed them to the kid. Stubbs donned the spikes and streeted the field to claim the $40,000 winner‘s cheque. His was the fastest winning time at the gift since 1995 - a blistering 11.87 (+1.2) seconds over the 120-metre course. Running the fastest time seen at Central Park since 1995, Stubbs drew inspiration from a past winner and from one of Australia‘s fastest ever sprinters. The minor placings were filled by Moreland‘s Paul Tancredi (12.04 seconds) and fast finishing Queenslander Matt Davies who flew home from the backmark of 2.25m to record an impressive 12.08 seconds. Australian 400m hurdles champion Tristan Thomas won the Redvys Cooper Memorial Jack Donaldson 200m in 20.29 seconds. Thomas, running off 10m, caught the front markers with 20m to go and crossed the line full of running to take the winner’s sash.Maitland‘s Trisha Greaves (6 metres) won the Strickland Family Women‘s Gift from Stawell veteran Tamsyn Lewis (4 metres) in a scintillating 13.59 seconds. Greaves, a national 400m finalist, surprisingly reversed the results of the semi-finals where Lewis pipped her on the line to go into the final as favourite. Coming back from a disrupted preparation which saw her tear a ligament in her foot, Greaves ran strongly throughout to claim the $2100 first prize. The TAB Big6 Backmarkers Invitation 120m assembled a field of Australia‘s finest sprint talent. Running off a mark of one metre, Australian 200m champion Aaron Rouge-Serret claimed the $4300 prizemoney and back-to-back victories in 12.26 seconds. Athletics Australia informs.

BEOGRAD (SRB): Best Serbian female runner Olivera Jevtic will compete next Saturday at Beograd Marathon only at the half distance. Serbian media are informing. She won the half-marathon here already five times, last time last year. In 2007 she ran the full distance and won. She says she will use the race as preparation for World Championships marathon in Berlin.

NAIROBI (KEN): The 1987 World Marathon champion and 1988 Olympic silver medallist Douglas Wakiihuri last week launched the creation of what is said will be Kenya‘s richest half marathon with the aim of attracting foreign runners and encouraging the country‘s best to compete in domestic events. Sponsored by a Japanese media firm, Sotokoto Magazine, the race to be held on 24 May will take place in the Nairobi National Park, one of the country‘s oldest wildlife parks, just 10 minutes drive from the city centre. Winners in men and women‘s races will earn US$15,000, another first in Kenya‘s athletics history. The half marathon will act as a qualifying race for Kenyans aiming to compete in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham.

LONDON (GBR): British high jumper Ben Challenger has joined Sweden‘s top coach Yannick Tregaro in a bid to win a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. Informs insidethegames.com. The 31-year-old, who is from Leicestershire, is currently training in Sweden under Tregaro. He was a former promising junior high jumper before turning to coaching and he has since trained Sweden‘s Kajsa Bergqvist, the 2005 world champion, and Emma Green, the bronze medallist in the same event. Challenger, the son of Showaddywaddy drummer Romeo, has so far failed to fulfil the potential he showed as a 22-year-old when he won the World Student Games title in 1999. Challenger missed the Olympics in Beijing last year after he ruptured his Achilles tendon and required an operation.

PRATO (ITA, Apr 12): 21st edition of half-marathon winners were Kenyan Abraham Talem (1:03:24) and Italian Ivana Iozzia (1:15:06).

Special thanks each and every day to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more on our world of athletics, please check http://www.runningnetwork.com

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