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Liguori: Usain Is A Bolt Of Fresh Air — On And Off The Track

Usain Bolt (Photo credit: DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN/AFP/GettyImages)

Usain Bolt (Photo credit: DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN/AFP/GettyImages)

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By Ann Liguori
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You have to love Usain Bolt. He is the fastest sprinter ever, and if his times don’t convince you he will tell you!

After he won the Gold in the 200 meters yesterday, he said, ”I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live.”

I love watching his races. I watch them over and over to see how and when this powerful six-foot-five athlete pulls ahead after his notorious slow starts.

Gallery: 2012 London Olympics – Day 14

In the 200 meters yesterday, Bolt pulled away from the competition going into the turn. The power and speed he generates in milliseconds there is incredible to watch. Suddenly his legs push hard, taking wide steps, while his arms pump fast with his giant frame standing upright. Bolt was so far ahead rounding out the turn that it didn’t matter when he slowed down due to a strained back, he said afterward. He still ran it in 19.32, tying Michael Johnson’s 1996 Olympics record time.

After setting a new Olympic record in the 100 meters last Sunday with a time of 9.63, Bolt is the only man in history to win both the 100 and 200 meters in back-to-back Olympics. I’d say that does make him a legend.

Mix in his riveting personality and this “legend” is also quite the showman!

After he took his warm-up pants off, he fist-pumped the guard standing in front of him. Upon being introduced, he did the Queen’s wave to the crowd. Before he got into the starting blocks for the 200 meters, Bolt put his finger to his mouth to hush the crowd and then cracked a huge smile. Then while he was in the blocks — after his feet were in position — his hands did the sign of the cross on his chest and he looked up to the heavens and pointed. After he crossed the finish line, Bolt put his finger to his lips again. A few seconds later, he did five push-ups on the track.

Afterward, he grabbed a camera from a professional photographer and started taking pictures. He loves having fun. He knows that all the attention is focused on him, and he plays it up.

There was much more to come from Bolt after the race. Bolt told the world that he had no respect for Carl Lewis.

“The things he says about the track athletes is really downgrading,” said Bolt. “For another athlete to say something like that … I think he’s just looking for attention, really, because nobody really talks much about him. I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”

Lewis has let his opinion be known that he is surprised by the times of Bolt and other Jamaican sprinters, and that he was not convinced of Bolt’s legacy.

In an interesting comparison of sprint times in the 100 meters at the Olympics through the years — produced by the New York Times – Bolt’s times of 9.63 in London and 9.69 in the 2008 Beijing Games were significantly faster than Lewis, who ran the 100 meters in 9.92 in Seoul in 1988 and 9.99 in the Los Angeles Games in 1984. And then compare those times to Jesse Owens’ 10.3 in 1936.

Today’s athletes have the benefits of better nutrition, training techniques, coaching and footwear, and no other world-class sprinter has Bolt’s height.

Bolt is as tall on the track as off. And hopefully, the 25-year-old will continue to win and entertain.

Visit Ann’s website at www.annliguori.com and follow her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Are you a fan of Bolt, or does his outspoken personality not sit well with you? Let us know in the comments section below…