Usain Bolt just false started in the final of the 2011 World Championships in Deagu! Noooooo! That means – for Chrissakes – that he’s disqualified from the competition. That means – for Chrissakes – I won’t get to see him run the 100m today. There is something very wrong here! All I wanted from athletics this year was to see Usain Bolt run very fast. That’s all athletics really has to offer me. And what does it do? What does it do for itself? It says Usain can’t run!
I’d be one of the first to say there should be rules in this world. A rule of law is a pretty decent thing to cling to. But this time, please…. They could have just said: “Oh, it’s Usain…. Let’s overlook it! It probably wasn’t intentional or anything… and everyone wants to see him run.” We’d all be OK with that.
Because Usain didn’t run badly in the heats. He was the first out of the blocks, and he had about 5 yards on the other guys by 50m, and he was just getting into his stride. He was running like a man who could break the world record. Even by Usain standards, he was running very fast.
Now, that’s fast! That’s the sort of fast that makes history. And that’s what we could have witnessed today, but for one little rule that says ‘one false start and you’re out.’
I’m not mad keen on sprinting. But seeing Usain Bolt run – it’s one of those things that makes me shake my head. It’s just incredible. You get to see something that shouldn’t be possible. I struggle to find words for it. It’s very rare that an athlete beats quality opposition so effortlessly. I think of Lennox Lewis sparring with David Tua, or Jonah Lomu running through tackles in 1995. They’re primal things, but sprinting is even more primal. It’s just a man running!
Nietzsche came up with his Superman theory, arguing that there should be different laws for different people. In reality, there are different laws for different people. I find that kind of tasteless and annoying in ‘real life’, but I’d have sanctioned it for Usain today. Because, sport isn’t life! I know it’s supposed to reinforce social values and etiquette, like fairness and meritocracy and all that. But that’s all political, so stuff it! Let Usain run!