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Bolt – More Than One Nation

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By Ikeday Isiguzo
WORLD sprint sensation Usain Bolt is leaving the opposition to catch him. While others would be content with a medal (of any shade at the Olympics), the Jamaican is focused on helping Jamaica to four gold medals at the London Olympics.

He would not be the first to win four gold medals at the same Games. Yet a four-gold victory in London would put Bolt in an exclusive club with Carl Lewis, who was the last track athlete to win four Olympic titles at the same Games, in Los Angeles in 1984.

Carl followed in the steps of fellow American Jesse Owens who achieved the Olympic quadruple in Berlin in 1936 before Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen repeated the feat at the 1948 London Games.

The all-time record for a track athlete is the five Olympic golds the “Flying Finn”, Paavo Nurmi won at the 1924 Olympics in the 1500m, the 5,000m, the individual cross country, the 3,000m team race and the 5,000m team cross country.

Bolt, crowned world athlete of the year last week with Australian sprint hurdler Sally Pearson, understands his Olympic ambitions.

“The Olympics is the biggest stage for an athlete and when the Olympics comes around you know it’s not going to be around for the next four years,” he said.

“An athlete doesn’t have a lot of Olympics to compete in – just three or four, depending on how long your career is. So, I take the Olympics really seriously. I know the value of an Olympic gold medal so I really am focused on the Olympic year.”

In 2004, Bolt failed to make it out of the preliminary round of the 200 metres at the Athens Olympic Games, while a year later in Helsinki at the World Championships he was eighth in the 200m final. In 2008, he won three gold medals at the Olympics and repeated the feat at eth World Championships in Daegu. A false start denied him another World Championship triple.

The small Caribbean island of Jamaica, with its 2.9 million people, which is less than the population of many local government areas in Nigeria, celebrates Bolt, whose patriotism oozes. Jamaicans have ignored size to push their country into world super stardom in athletics.

Usain Bolt is the not only the most marketable athlete in the world today built a base to support his ambition. After his false start and disqualification at the 2011 World Championships, concluded on Sunday in Daegu, South Korea, he took the 200m with the fourth fastest time ever – 19.40 seconds – and pushed Jamaica to the only world record at the event, the blistering 37.04 seconds in the 100m relay.

Yohan Blake, his young training partner stepped up and the 100m gold, like Bolt, he left Daegu with two gold medals, the second from the relay. To achieve the relay world record feat each Jamaican covered the 100m on an average time of 9.26 seconds!

Two other sprinters are in that team that took home $100,000 from the IAAF, as winning bonus, Mike Frater and Nesta Carter. Bolt would rely on them for the 100 relay.

Asafa Powel could be fit then too. Their bronze in the men’s 400m relay could be the source of Bolt’s ambitions. If he juggles the schedule well and runs the opening leg in the event, he could generate the sort of gap that would make Jamaica unmatchable. Those dwelling so much on Bolt’s lack of experience in the 400m at the top will be hearing from the Jamaican soon. When Bolt puts his mind to something, he is simply unstoppable. The Olympics would be ordinary without athletes who go extraordinary lengths to make the Olympics the festival of feats that informed its re-birth in 1896.

PS: If Bolt succeeds, Jamaica would also excel. If Bolt had been a country, his three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics would have given him a 27th place in the overall medals table, ahead of 53 countries. Jamaica would have slumped from 14th to 24th place without Bolt.

Thanks For My Dad

I HAVE been way from the space to attend to the preparations for the burial of my dad Hilary Nmerengwa Isiguzo, who was buried on 18 November in our village Umuokegwu in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia. I remain immensely proud of his achievements, especially how he raised us his children.

My bountiful gratitude goes to all who contributed to the burial through gifts, visits, and messages. I appreciated knowing that people cared. Two of my friends sent me recharge cards, very thoughtful gifts in those circumstances – the value of the gifts, for me welled up more from the spirit behind them than what they would have cost.

A special gratitude is reserved for those who made it to my village, at least you could confirm that I am not from the city, and I am proud that I am not.

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