As he turns the tender age of 23 today, many around the World — especially those in Berlin who witnessed his latest triumphs in the 100 and 200 meters — are wondering just whether Usain Bolt may be the best athlete of all time.
In case you’ve been somewhere other than on this planet the past week or so, here’s a little synopsis of what the great Jamaican sprinter has done plus some videos to prove it.
Let’s see… first there was the 100 meter final on Sunday in which Bolt dominated the fastest field in history with a jaw-dropping 9.58 world-record time while four others including Tyson Gay (9.71 set U.S record) and Asafa Powell broke 10 flat.
Then there was Thursday’s performance in the 200 final at the World Championships in Berlin. Despite facing no real threat to winning the Gold (after all his 19.3 last year in Beijing snapped the 19.32 Michael Johnson record that had stood for 12 years and was thought to be untouchable and the kid has only gotten faster since then), Bolt still ran his best attempting to discover whether he could set a new world record.
Well, whether it was his best or not, the 19.19 he ran not only left the onlookers in Berlin dumbstruck, but his competition in awe.
“He’s a gift to this earth,” American sprinter Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth said. “He’s a blessing to the track game…I’m just waiting for the lights to flash ‘game over’ cause I felt like I was in a video game.”
Sunday’s 100 m
Thursday’s 200 m
As Will Ferrell would say, don’t act like you’re not impressed.
But back to the original question of is Bolt the best athlete of all time. In my mind ‘the best’ is hard to qualify. What makes one “the best athlete”? Is it someone who can play multiple sports at a professional level? I would say that that is the criteria so Bolt who really “only” runs wouldn’t really qualify and maybe guys like Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson or Michael Jordan were better.
At the very least, though, I would say he is the most impressive athlete of our time and because athletes or this generation are unquestionably better than those from prior generations, Bolt is thusly the most impressive athlete of all time.
Who’s more impressive today? There’s certainly some worthy contenders who would spark a debate: Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Albert Pujols, LaDainian Tomlinson, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anderson Silva and perhaps Tom Brady.
I really just don’t think any of their accomplishments can rival lowering world records in both the 100 and 200 meter races to times that were unthinkable just 13 months ago. The fact that Bolt — who is now only 23 years of age — is not yet in his prime and still reaching unchartered waters while testing the capabilities of the human body to their absolute fullest extent…
Nobody else does that.