Who says cheats don’t prosper?
It wasn’t supposed to end like this. It was going be a coronation. A chance to say goodbye to the greatest athlete the world has seen; as he added yet another medal to his unparalleled collection.
Gatlin’s real chance was in Beijing in 2015 but Usain found a way to win or rather, the baddie found a way to lose and the public [and sport] were ecstatic. The Olympics was never in doubt. It was written in the stars. “The Triple Triple” or is that “The Treble Treble”
But like a Heavyweight boxer who doesn’t know when to stop, seduced by the hero worship, he went to the well once too often. Anyone who watched his documentary -I Am Bolt- would have seen how difficult it was to get motivated for Rio 2016, far less London 2017.
Two things jump out from this “tragedy” for me. First the ridiculous analysis of Gatlin (the junkie’s) victory. How can we say he shouldn’t have been able to run? We all knew he was a cheat. [So is Bolt’s countryman Yohan Blake by the way] the truth is that he can run, so long as he doesn’t win. How rude of him to interrupt our fairytale ending.
Yet sadly, this is real life and I must admit there is something to be admired about the stubbornness of a 35 year old pariah, who ignores 60,000 boos to win a race in a hostile land where nobody wanted him to win.
Finally and maybe most importantly for me: What do we say to our kids? Don’t do that, honesty is the best policy, cheats never prosper, good will always triumph, blah blah blah. I know it’s more nuanced than that and I would still want to be Bolt rather than Gatlin today but so far as the youngsters are concerned, THE CHEAT WON.
I’m off to the Championships today where there is a medal ceremony. It was as close as I could get to seeing and appreciating the great man. Bolt will be on the podium but not in first place where I had already placed him. Ultimately, no matter how flat we feel today, he’ll always be the CHAMP to us and in time this will serve to embellish and not diminish his legacy. Which is: Second only in his greatness to The Greatest ……..and he lost (on occasion) too.