Of course, coming in the wake of Phelps’ achievements it would have been difficult for anyone to expect what the world got to see on the track.
Lightning Bolt literally hacked the field apart in the 100m with an astonishing and decidedly punishing 9.69 world record performance. He had time to look back at the field in the final five metres, thumping his chest in emphatic style and raising his hands to the acclaim of over 90,000 gathered in the ‘Bird’s Nest’.
For all of Phelps’s achievements the crowds on hand, while filling the ‘Cube’ never exceeded 25,000, small in comparison to the ‘Bird’s Nest’.
The atmosphere was electric and all the more so because of the ease of Bolt’s earlier victories in the lead-up to the final.
Bolt’s speed was such that his momentum carried him father around the arena than any other man in athletics history. He was all alone in his superb performance. Asafa Powell could only muster a fifth place finish. The same Powell who once indica
ted that he could break the world record when he wanted and wherever he wanted. Perhaps he did not want to do it in Beijing. The reality was that he could not have done it there. Bolt was too far ahead of him establishing a new record the likes of which Powell had never seen even with wind assisting him.
Three days later Bolt was at it again. The young athlete gave himself a birthday present by again slamming the field and giving the world of athletics yet another world record, 19.30, laying to rest Michael Johnson’s 1996 Atlanta performance of 19.32.