Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bolt or blot?

Usain Bolt wants to have fun. Bolt runs for a living, and as of the now-concluded Beijing Olympics, he's the fastest man in the world.

To be able to accomplish a feat no other human being has been able to makes his exuberant claim to be "number one" a statement of fact, though he may have made a bit too much of a meal of it on international television. As fellow human beings, we can take some pride in the physical proof that our frail design has broken yet another seemingly impossible limitation; but to see Bolt's index-finger waving in-your-face celebration on a 50+" LCD HDTV must have pushed IOC Pres, Jacques Rogge's I-so-want-to-smack-his-face button.

Rogge's job is to keep the good image of the Olympics. Scenes like Michael Phelps celebrating with family and loved ones after yet another record-breaking achievement are heart-warming and represent the spirit of sportsmanship that the Games upholds. That makes for nice family entertainment, and Rogge isn't about let his beloved Olympics degenerate into a quad-annual WWE-fest any time soon.

Though Bolt got his smack, he still remains unrepentant. To him, that display was just about him being himself, having fun, enjoying a great day at the office and entertaining the crowds the way they want to be entertained. And it was great for the ratings too! So what's the old man's problem?

Two guys on opposite ends of a tug-of-war rope. Traditional idealist vs Media-savvy punk. But if Phelps, a guy with more reason to be proud of himself, can behave himself in front of the international media, Bolt's excesses put a blot on his achievement. Grow up, boy!

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