As usual, I’ve been glued to the television for the past two weeks watching the Olympics. I read somewhere that more women than men watch the Olympics and I thought that was really interesting. I guess that makes sense as the American women athletes have certainly been killing it this Olympics. Did you see the women’s world record setting 4×100 race? I watched it over and over again because it was just that awesome.
Speaking of sprinting, let’s discuss the most talked about sprinter in the world – Usain Bolt. While his sprinting ability is quite impressive, his attitude is not. I am not a big fan of cockiness. He does back it up with results, but to say that he’s the greatest athlete of all time or that he’s a legend? Tell me that when you’ve won the decathlon, Usain. Sure you can sprint – you can run fast – and you are arguably the greatest sprinter of all time, but that’s all you’ve shown us. When you can be proficient in 10 different track & field events, then maybe you can be the greatest athlete of all time. Tell me that when you win gold medals in 2 Olympic games, not just for sprinting but for the long jump as well a la Carl Lewis. Sure, you can run faster than he did, but can you jump farther? Tell me that when you win 8 gold medals in one Olympiad, or 22 medals over the course of an Olympic career – including swimming four different strokes (in one race). If anyone has the right to be cocky and claim to be the greatest athlete of all time, it’s Michael Phelps. Did he act cocky or proclaim himself to be the greatest? Not so much. I think he handled himself very nicely, under the circumstances. Perhaps the great Bob Costas said it best – there doesn’t seem to be anyone more impressed with Usain Bolt than Usain Bolt. (Have I ever mentioned that I love Bob Costas?)
So no, Usain, you’re not the greatest athlete of all time. Nor will you ever be. Greatest sprinter? For now. Legend? Maybe. But that remains to be seen. In the meantime, a large dose of humility might be in order.