Can you beat Bolt?

Great video – your chance to beat the world’s fastest man….be sure to share it!

He is a funny guy…

More ‘Chasing Bolt’ on YouTube.

ChasingBolt.com

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Bolt to Victory

Wow.

An incredible margin of victory for this incredible runner. Will anyone go faster?!

Not long ago, it was thought a time like this would not be possible – athletes had reached their peak with modern science and training programmes.

True – but you can never underestimate ‘natural talent’ the gift with which an individual is born. Science and coaches can only work with what they have got.

Will anyone run sub 9.0 in time?

Watch video here on BBC player.

The Glory of Just Showing Up

For many small nations, the Olympic experience lasts only a few minutes

Aishath Reesha, a 19-year-old 800-meter runner, had just finished practice at the Chaoyang Sports Center, a proletarian track sequestered from the Olympic mobs. She sat with her back to a recently whitewashed wall, an ice-pack on her neck, and watched as a French sprinter sped past.

“We can’t compete with people from other worlds,” she said in a whisper. “I’m not scared. My goal is to better my personal best.”

Ms. Reesha is from Maldives, a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean with a population of 379,000, per capita income of $4,600, and a serious worry about being washed away. Her personal best in the 800-meter race is 2:32.97; the Olympic record is more than 38 seconds faster.

“We are not qualified for the Olympics,” said her coach, whose name is Ahmed Faail. He was standing over Ali Shareef, his 100-meter runner, who was on flat on his back with a leg in the air. Mr. Faail was helping him work out a kink. “In the heats there are people with a lot of experience,” he said. “We will not be winning heats.”

Among the 222 countries that have sent athletes to the modern Games since 1896, only 130 have brought a medal home.

What’s billed as a meet for the fittest in truth has a second division of schlumps. Every nation is encouraged with money and training programs to send one man and one woman, even if they don’t have a soul who qualifies. The IOC doesn’t tally how many of the 10,500 athletes here get in that way, but they appear to number at least in the hundreds. Most end up swimming or running, activities where being inept doesn’t automatically result in broken necks.

Olympic universality has bred a line of famous bunglers, from Wym Essajas of Suriname, who missed his 800-meter heat in 1960, to Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea, who took nearly two minutes to swim 100 meters in 2000. Yet for all its promotion of participation, the IOC gives its losers no glory: Its history-packed Web site displays only winning countries and their medal counts.

Asked where to find lists of also-rans, an IOC press officer suggests sending an email to its information center. It’s the sort of reply that’s long griped a small international club of amateur statistics nuts calling themselves the Oly Madmen. Led by Bill Mallon, a shoulder surgeon in Durham, N.C., the Madmen have spent five years building an easy-to-manipulate database that comprises every run, jump, throw, dive and somersault in Olympic history. It folds in Hector Hatch’s ninth-place welterweight boxing tie for Fiji in 1956, and the 51st-place mixed-free-pistol finish Aferdita Tusha racked up for Albania in 1972. The Madmen have compiled the records of 110,000 Olympic athletes and are at work on thumbnail biographies for each one; so far, they’ve done 24,000. WSJ.

Stany the stingray

Following in the churned-up wake of Eric Moussambani, the loveable loser who grabbed the attention of the world in the 100m swim at Sydney in 2000, Democratic Republic of Congo swimmer Stany Kempompo Ngangola will competed as a wildcard entrant in the 50m freestyle heats.

According to the official start list, his ranking time for his heat was an astonishingly slow 1min 15 secs.

In that time world record holder Eamon Sullivan could have finished his lap, climbed out of the pool, dried himself off and called Stephanie Rice to catch up on old times. American superstar Michael Phelps could have covered almost 150m of a 200m freestyle race and even the next lowest ranked swimmer in competition, Kareem Valentine of Antigua-Barbuda, could have completed a second lap.

SMH.

Who cares who wins? Losing is much more interesting

Zzzz… zzzz… zzzz… Why can’t I stay awake? I’m an anorak, a sports junkie. Wherever sport is played, I take a ringside seat on my sofa, flicking between channels, screaming at referees, gobbling up statistics.

It should stir me to my soul that, in Beijing, an Olympic swimmer is rewriting the record books. I should be sitting up all night, cheering on the great Michael Phelps as he scythes through the water. But I just don’t care.

To find out why not, read here.

Beijing’s economy: Going for gold

The Olympics have not brought Beijing’s businesses the boom they hoped for

YABAO ROAD in Beijing’s embassy district is normally bustling. Russian traders scour its wholesale shops for furs and boots. Hawkers throng the pavements. The street is jammed with taxis and pedicabs. But the Olympic games have begun. Yabao Road is now strangely quiet.

Only a few months ago many shopkeepers, restaurants and hotels were expecting these to be boom times as big-spending foreigners flocked in for the games. Today many businessmen in and around the capital are disgruntled. So too are other citizens who find that even some outdoor food markets have been closed as part of an Olympic spruce-up…

Officials say one-fifth of rooms at the city’s 120-odd designated Olympic hotels were unoccupied after the games started on August 8th (they finish on the 24th). But no figures have been published for the 700 others. Price-cutting at many hotels suggests there may be a glut of rooms. Some bars and restaurants say business is lacklustre too. The owner of one upmarket nightclub says he had been expecting a packed house “all night, every night up until dawn” during the games. But in fact business is much as usual.

Read more in the Economist.

For Faster, For Slower

Married Athletes

BEIJING — Distance runner Adam Goucher always imagined cheering on his wife, Kara, here at these Olympics. But in his dreams she always returned the favor.

In a reversal of fortune, however, former Olympian Adam is relegated to the stands while Kara — who has competed in his shadow for years — chases Olympic glory.

Athletes marry each other for the same reason other professionals often do: They spend a lot of time together. Even on the U.S. track and field team, there are at least two other married couples besides the Gouchers.

On occasion, both spouses excel. In 1952, Czechoslovakian runner Emil Zápotek and his wife both earned gold medals. He placed first in the men’s 5,000-meters, the 10,000 meters and the marathon; his wife won the women’s javelin.

Read full article in the WSJ.