Note: This post was first published on my Medium page on August 12, 2017.
As it was in the beginning, so it was in the end.
Usain St Leo Bolt, who began his senior athletics career at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland with an injury and a last place finish as he limped across the line, also ended his glorious journey limping off the track — this time unable to finish the race, felled by a hamstring pull.
His teammates on the 4x100m relay squad, the rest of the athletes in the camp, and Jamaicans the world over are utterly devastated. This is not how we wanted the big man’s career to end, with a whimper instead of a bang. This was not it at all. But such is life, isn’t it? He is human, despite a decade of headlines likening him to machines and beings from outer space. One hundred per cent human, and his body just had about enough. Age and time catch up to us all, eventually.
I didn’t even realise that the men’s 110m hurdles finals were today, because I had determined in my heart not to watch any more of the events live, following the back-to-back days of pain we have experienced with Usain’s and Elaine’s losses at the World Championships. No, I was not ready, and I was not able, and I was not willing.
So when my friend Keresa (yes, she ina mi life like water ina everything lol) Whatsapped me and I saw ‘Omar!!!!!!’ I almost tripped over my laptop cord to get to the TV to watch the replay as we finally shook the monkey off our backs to claim our first title of these games.
I know I saw it with my own eyes, and the results have settled in my brain, but I’m still in a state of…confusion? Did Usain Bolt just lose an international final? Did he lose two races in a row? Did he just close out his massive international individual career with a measly bronze medal? I saw it with my own eyes, the results have settled in my brain, but I’m still asking the question: what. just. happened?
And to Justin Gatlin? Him, of all people?
As much as we collectively despise him as a nation, you have to admit that there is something poetic about Justin being the one to pick Usain’s pocket in this moment. The villian has rewritten the story. The big, bad wolf huffed and puffed and not only blew the house down, but he caught and ate one of the little pigs.
Howdy, y’all! It’s been a while and a half since I’ve visited these parts. Didn’t have much of anything I wanted to write about, at least not publicly, so I’ve kept my mouth shut. But it’s World Championships time again, so chatterbox mode, activate! Couch Potato Pundit reporting for duty, Dutchie covers in hand. My neighbours are about to hate me again, but a so life go.
The 2016 Olympic Games are over. No more world records, controversial decisions, victory dances and singing along to our National Anthem as our athletes collect their gold medals. No more DeBolt bromance. No more ham-fisted commentary and awkward interviews from the ESPN Caribbean crew of Grace Jackson, Felix Sanchez, et al. No more contextual analysis and statistics from Bruce James and the TVJ panel (no, they’re not paying me, but I will never defile my eyes by watching anything on CVM.) I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to come down from the high just yet.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Usain Bolt, aided by his three teammates in the 4x100m relay, pulled off the unprecedented triple-triple – three gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games – and there’s already a gaping hole where he used to be. Sure, he’ll be present and accounted for at the World Championships in London next year, but he won’t be going for another triple, so it won’t be the same.
When the good Lord was handing out athletic prowess to Jamaicans, He saw me approaching the top of the line, sighed and said, “No, baby love. I will give you strong carpal tunnels instead, because you’ll be writing writing writing.” I have no physical talents whatsoever, pretty much failing my way through PE every term of the three years I suffered through it in high school. I was also just not interested, so Miss Lyngo had absolutely nothing to work with out there.
My interest in sports is purely from an observer’s standpoint. I am a proud couch potato pundit. My only exertion comes from screaming, jumping, and dang near flipping my furniture as I cheer for my favourites. Being a fan is fun, but it’s also hella hard on my fragile nerves, which is how I know that even if I had been blessed with the talent, I could never make it as an elite, Olympic athlete.
Can you feel the shift in the air? The palpable excitement and nervous buzz? Do you feel even more patriotic Jamaican pride coursing through your body, knowing that our Emancipendence time has coincided with the start of Olympics 2016? Well, I do! I am almost beside myself with excitement and nerves as I wait to see what Team Jamaica will do at the Greatest Show on Earth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.