Tonight was cheese & wine night at my brother’s place; a fine evening spent with mutual friends, where the only real issues were finding enough chairs and deciding on which cheese to eat first (the brie was a favourite). On the TV was a recording of the day’s Olympics events — all the swimming action, along with Jess Ennis blitzing her 100 metre hurdles heat with brand-new British, Olympic and Heptathlon hurdles records in HD! — followed by a
Wait, I should have said cheese, wine & big conversation night at my brother’s. You’ve probably guessed what one of the main topics of conversation was by now. If you haven’t, you either a) haven’t paid enough attention to this blog, or b) you just don’t care about what is arguably the greatest track & field event at this year’s London Olympics.
I’m not the most patriotic person in the world, and I’m definitely not the biggest sports fan, but here are a few reasons why I think this Sunday’s main event will be well worth watching (even if the notion of sprint-training is less appealing than being stuck in a lift for 8 hours with Frankie Boyle…especially the case if your name’s Rebecca Adlington…).
1: It’s two men running as fast as humans can physically go without either passing out or dying. I don’t give a shit who you are and what you like: that’s good TV.
2: The men’s 100 metres is about as competitive as life gets here on planet Earth. Are you the kind of person who feels a sense of intense irrational joy when you see someone do something trivial not quite as good as you can? If you feel immediately lifted when witnessing a stranger or loved-one park badly, adore overtaking slow cyclists while out on your bike, or get a disturbing amount of pleasure from watching an old person try and text on their ancient phone while becoming visibly distressed while doing it, then you are without doubt a closet 100 metres fan!
3: There hasn’t been a showdown as anticipated as this for a long time in athletics. Even better, the Usain Bolt Versus Yohan Blake story adds a unique twist. On the surface it might seem more interesting if Blake and Bolt were bitter rivals, but actually, I think the fact that they’re training partners and friends creates a more unusual and compelling dynamic.
4: Even if you haven’t been following the charismatic Usain Bolt story for the last few years, you’ll likely have become aware of just how legendary the man has become. If Bolt gets beat on Sunday — something that’s likely to happen if he doesn’t get a great start or does a false-start, leading to instant disqualification under the new rules — it’ll be a massive upset and could potentially mark the beginning of a new champion. At the very least, it’ll prove that when Blake beat Bolt at the recent Jamaican Trials, it wasn’t just a fluke.
That’s if…somehow, I doubt Bolt’s going to let it go so easily…