Usain Bolt proved that he is the fastest track and field sprinter in the world by winning the 100 and 200-meter races at the London Olympics, but the Jamaican runner took matters a step further.
The often boastful sprinter declared after dusting the field in the 200 on Thursday that he is the “greatest athlete to live.”
“It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live,” Bolt said, per SI’s Richard Deitsch.
I’m not sure if Bolt meant that he is the greatest athlete to ever live, or that he is currently the greatest athlete alive, but does it matter? Bolt has proved for the second straight Summer Games that he is the fastest competitive runner in the world. He became the first man to win the 200-meter sprint in two Olympics, and the first man to win both the 100 and 200 in different Olympiads.
Bolt’s comments should not come as a surprise. He stated in June that he already had his “living legend” speech planned for when he won the 200 in London, and he’s displayed a strong touch of Muhammad Ali’s boastfulness for quite some time.
After winning the 200, Bolt got down and did some pushups, and then kissed the track. He also put his finger to his mouth before crossing the finish line in order to hush the crowd (pictured above). He’s all about being a showman. But is he the greatest athlete in the world right now?
If you break things down based on relative dominance by sport, other athletes such as Lionel Messi, Michael Phelps, and LeBron James would be in the debate. Maybe if Bolt tried his hardest in all his races we would truly see how much better he is than his competitors, but he frequently takes it easy during races (including the 100 and 200 at the Olympics). Of course, given his concern with trying to be a showman, maybe this is all part of creating the intrigue.
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