The Olympics may be gone but the sense of wonder at some of the feats of athletic ability still remain. For me, the two that stand out especially are the doings of Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s 21 year old star sprinter.

The first was his seemingly effortless win of the 100 m final. He did not look to strain as he led the pack in world record time. He let off before crossing the finish line (taking time to thump on his chest and look around to his adoring/amazed fans) – yet he still broke the world record and won gold! It was a sight to behold! Later on, when the NBC interviewer caught up with him, the conversation could not have been scripted better (paraphrased liberally).

Commentator: Congratulations on your victory. Winning Jamaica’s first men’s gold in this event. How does it feel?

Usain: It feels good. I came out here to win and have fun and I did.

Commentator: You let off a few meters there before crossing the finish line yet you still broke the world record. How much more time do you think you would have shaved off the record if you hadn’t let off?

Usain: hey, I’m not worried about that. I came here to win and have a good time and I did.

Commenator: [look of disbelief] but, the world record. Don’t you think you would have taken off some more time off it?

Usain: [even more amusing look of disbelief] yeah, but I won.


In my words, the last statement would have been “Dude, didn’t you notice I won?” He did win and he did have fun. In fact, it looked like every other contestant treated the race as the run of his life – huffing, puffing , strain showing on their faces – but Usain couldn’t wait for the race to be done. He wanted to show off his golden shoes (of which he had two pairs: a 100m version for the 100m race and a 200m version for the 200m race). He also needed to perform a jig and pose by he clock showing his world-record-setting time.

I can’t say I was totally shocked by Bolt’s performance in the 100m final. I had watched his semi-final heat for the same race the day before. In that, he had let off at about the 50m mark and taken the rest of the time to look into the stands, wave his hands around and generally trivialize the race. By his standards, winning against the fastest sprinters in the world was like taking candy from a bunch of babies.

As expected , the look of effortless ease did not go unquestioned. The press was first to hear voices “there are suspicions that doping might be involved”, “he might be taking performance enhancing substances”. Bolt’s dad faced those suspicions face on. “I know what my son takes to be strong and fast. ” He took a suspenseful pause then added,  “It is a healthy amount of yams from Jamaica’s Trelawny region.” [Reuters]

I hope bolt’s dad has a Yam farm somewhere – this thing could become huge. In today’s hyper-engineered sports industry, yams could well become the next protein shake. We’ll see supermarket aisles with yam-extract products right next to the soy stuff.

Mr. bolt sr. I want to get in on the action too. That’s why I’m announcing today the secret behind Simon Wanjiru’s gold medal winning (and Olympic Record setting) performance at the Marathon. Its all about arrowroots. A healthy dose of Nyahururu arrowroots and you can run 40kms non-stop. You can place orders here.


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