Drumroll please, you are entering Bolt’s ‘insane’ world — Tan Yo-Hinn
AUG 11 — All right, so it ended on a sombre note with the man saying he had “lost all respect” for Carl Lewis. But Usain Bolt’s media conference, after more than four billion global TV viewers saw him storming to victory in the 200m final to become the first to achieve 100m and 200m double in back-to-back Olympics, was nothing short of entertaining.
While he thrilled the world in 19.32sec, the 30-minute long media conference that followed later ― well, it was almost midnight after nearly two hours of trackside celebrations ― offered a glimpse into the psyche of this phenomenal athlete.
While some dodge the media, Bolt simply embraces the responsibility that comes with being a superstar.
From the moment he entered the room to face about 150 international journalists and cameramen ― and we knew he was in the room before we saw him because he said “drumroll, please” ― it was clear the near two-hour wait to speak to him and compatriots Yohan Blake and Warren Weir was going to be worth it ― helped, of course, by an international media clearly in the mood to keep up with the fastest man in the world with some interesting questions.
“Who do you rate as the best partner for Wayne Rooney? Robin van Persie or Usain Bolt?”
“Would you play cricket in the IPL (Indian Premier League)?”
And the one that had everyone, including the Jamaican trio, in stitches: “Now that you’re a living legend, what kind of woman as a girlfriend could ever possibly match that status? Does she have to be an actress, a queen, a singer, the fastest girl in the world?”
Not to be outdone, one journalist from India threw a poetic line that would have made Muhammad Ali proud: “Actually, people have become more and more insane to see Usain.”
This is supposed to be the pressure-cooker environment of the Olympics, the grand daddy of them all, but not for Bolt. The Trelawny-born, self-proclaimed “living legend” made fun of Blake’s pre-race pose, pulled funny faces and explained why he waved like the Queen before the 200m final and took Swedish newspaper photographer Jimmy Wixtrom’s camera in the post-race celebrations.
“Every time he sees me, he says: ‘Usain, take a picture, take a picture’! But it’s fun, something the crowd likes and it always makes for a great picture,” he said.
Perhaps it is that laid-back attitude of the 1.95m tall world 100m and 200m record holder, who turns 26 on Aug 21, that has allowed him to remain as normal as possible.
“I like to talk to them (the volunteers), smile with them, bob the fist of the person who’s carrying my bag just to show appreciation,” he said. “I know for them it’s like over the moon, so for me to just interact with them would be great.”
“I have the 4x100 coming up and, on Saturday, I will party like it’s my birthday.” — Today
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.