x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Usain Bolt is the greatest

The Jamaican runner is not just a world-beater, he has won the enduring support of fans everywhere.

Where does one begin to find the right words to assess the achievements of Usain Bolt, already the fastest man on the planet, who earlier this week became the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the World Athletics Championships?

Bolt capped a wonderful personal campaign in Moscow by anchoring the Jamaican 4x100m sprint relay team's successful bid for gold on Sunday evening. That he trailed Justin Gatlin, his American rival, when he took hold of the baton, but was then able to power past him, speaks volumes for Bolt's long-standing ability to produce a winning performance wherever and whenever it matters.

Bolt has also somehow managed to make his monopoly of the sprint disciplines into compulsive viewing. The history of sport is littered with figures who exercised an absolute hold over their chosen field -Michael Schumacher, Roger Federer and Edwin Moses, to name only a few - whom the public eventually tired of and wanted to see knocked off their lofty pedestals.

No such malign sentiment surrounds Bolt. He might well be the only athlete in history for whom all of us cheer, all of the time.