Tonight Usain Bolt, already the greatest sprinter in history, attempts to win his third gold medal in the 200 meter dash. It is the race he was born to run. No other man has repeated as a 200 champion, and he is attempting to win it for a third time. As in the 100 meter dash, he smashed and gutted the world record for the event, producing times that have not been approached by anyone else.
As a visual spectacle I actually have a bias toward the 200 when it features compelling athletes. The image of the runners sprinting full-out around the bend and catapulting down the straight is spectacular. I'm looking forward to this.
This has been something of a golden age for the Olympic games, with both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt emerging as superstars and all-time greats in two of the crucial disciplines of the Games at the same time. Both merit and have received worldwide attention, athletes that transcend their sports and the Games themselves. In four years the Tokyo games will be notable for their absence, and it is likely that fan interest will be reduced as a result.
Should be a fun night. The team competitions are moving into the late stages of competition as well, medals are coming soon. Open thread time. About the games, not... legal issues.
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Not trying to prove a point--trying to learn something.
The Brazilian police has forbidden Lochte and the others from leaving Brazil while the evidence is being gathered, but he's apparently already returned to the United States.
The Rio police are casting doubt over Lochte's version of events, saying it doesn't square with testimony from others - although given their reputation for corruption, who really knows?
Apparently Lochte has met with the FBI to discuss the situation.
It's here. A singular event in sports, the central moment of every Olympic Games. Eight men. 100 meters. Fastest one wins. The prize? Fame, a medal, and the title of "World's Fastest Man."
There is something elegant, simple, and beautiful about the event. A must-watch every four years. It has produced some of the greatest stars in sport. Owens. Lewis. Bolt. Legends.
But there is a dark side to it, also. For it has produced some of the greatest scandals the sport has ever witnessed. Ben Johnson's steroid suspension was the defining moment in doping scandals and remained that way until the fall of Lance Armstrong. The 9.79 time he recorded that day in Seoul (I still remember watching it in my living room) was worlds faster than anything seen, and would not be equalled for over a decade.
Yet it has been equalled. In fact, it has been destroyed.
And that brings us to Sunday.
Someone will win the 100-meter dash today. They will raise their arms in triumph. The crowd will roar. Our jaws will drop in awe.
Will they be clean?
Many believe the final will come down to a race between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin. It is a fascinating match; Gatlin has been steadily improving since his return in 2010, while Bolt is an enigma who always seems to peak at the right moment. Bolt, of course, electrified the world in 2008, 2009, and 2012. But Gatlin is there.
"Return," you say? Oh, yes. See, Gatlin won this race before, in 2004. Ages ago. But then he was suspended for four years for doping. And now he is back, and running faster than he has ever run.
If he wins, what does that mean?
If Bolt beats him, what does that mean?
I'm pulling for Bolt, because he's exciting and because I enjoy greatness. If he wins the 100 and the 200 again this year, it cements him as far and away the best sprinter in history. And, well, Gatlin just brings too many questions. Except, let's be honest: So does everybody else in that field. Do I think Bolt is clean?
No, probably not.
It may be corrupt. It may be tainted. But it will be exciting. Bolt running for glory? Gatlin running to become the most complex, mercurial winner ever? A young runner pulling an upset? All we know is that it will be fascinating.
Are you interested in the race? Do you care about the possibility of cheating? Do you prefer a winner?
It's not football season yet, but at least we have a sport to discuss.