Brilliant Bolt's golden double

Usain Bolt of Jamaica races to the finish line to win gold ahead of Warren Weir of Jamaica in the Men's 200m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica races to the finish line to win gold ahead of Warren Weir of Jamaica in the Men's 200m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England. Stu Forster - Getty Images

STILL the man. Still the name on the lips of the world. Still the face of these Olympic Games, of the Games ad infinitum. For those who like to make a list Usain Bolt has defied you. He is a list of one. The only man to successfully defend the Olympic 100 and 200 metres, the double double.

He delivered history's "oh my god" moment with a finger pinned to his mouth, a gesture aimed at the doubters who thought the golden thread that runs through his core had started to fray. It was also pointing in the direction of the man to his left, Yohan Blake, who confused victory in the Jamaican trials over the same distance as evidence of his own power to make all before him yield. Not yet young man.

Blake's lunge for the line was in its own terms a mark of respect for the champion. There was no slowing here, no peacock display under braking as he crossed the line. He was balls out, draining every last ounce of effort to drag Bolt back into his orbit.

No chance. Bolt was upright, magnificent and proud, an athlete for the ages doing his thing when it mattered. What a moment. What a man.

There was something of Las Vegas about the day. This race began in mid-afternoon in the Westfield Centre adjacent to Olympic Park with thousands milling, hanging out, killing time, savouring the countdown, sensing that they were part of an extraordinary moment. This was not just about the Olympics, or even sport. There is an awesome quality attached to great deeds, and running fast is right up there with lunar landings and a knockout punch thrown in a prize-fighting ring in its power to compel. It is so far beyond what is normal, outside our range of experience.

Jamaica was well represented on the walkways and in the cafes, splashes of green, gold and black proclaiming an association with the Caribbean island. Bolt validates every last one of them, bestows upon them a sense of entitlement and a swagger. They win because he wins. Where are you from? Jamaica. Ah, Usain Bolt. And so with every stride he takes deeper into the annals of Olympic achievement Bolt augments the identity of his country, projecting Jamaica into the living rooms of the world.

The debate is already well advanced to claim for the island and her antecedents in West Africa a significant gene that confers upon them the gift of speed. The science is not yet as powerful as the sociology. Nature trails nurture and the contribution of the athletic hot house that is Trelawny and its schools, Waldensia Primary and William Knibb Memorial High, where Bolt's talent was spotted and encouraged. Even if a super gene proves to be the catalyst, it does not make him smile, or dance, or draw his golden bow. These are attributes all his own, expressions of a non-derivative kind.

Yes he has cultivated and polished the persona. The insouciance of pre-fight ritual, the joking last night in the warm-up area with baseball cap casually pitched atop that pristine dome, is all a little practiced perhaps but not sufficiently to harm the authenticity of the beast. It is these, the inflections of a vivid personality that augment the fable rooted in the velocity at which he covers the ground.

There were plenty of world class sprinters in this field, but only one Bolt. He is the face of these Games, the athlete that matters most, the special one, separate and distinct.

British athletes have enjoyed a degree of Olympic plunder unprecedented in the modern era. We luxuriate in the dominance of our cyclists, the excellence of our rowers and sailors. And yes we had that golden hour six days ago that ranks right up there as one of the greatest episodes in our sporting canon. But the feats of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford were ours to own. They had meaning only for us. Bolt transcends borders, race, creed, religious orientation. When he lines up on the blocks he is representing humanity, defining what is possible within the limitations of the species. He belongs to all of us.

Where he stands in the hierarchy of the great fast men is almost irrelevant. Eight others had done what he managed in Beijing, claiming double gold in the sprint events, among them Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, who in different eras circumscribed the age with their athletic endeavours. This is the territory occupied by Bolt today, a towering figure in the presence of whom we freeze.

An athlete of the calibre of David Rudisha, who took gold in the 800 metres in world record time - yes that was the 800 metres - was presented as the undercard entertainment. The 23-year-old Maasai supernova is undefeated, a two-lap warrior to stand comparison with Ovett and Coe, Aouita and El Guerrouj. To Kenya and the continent of Africa he is a treasure trove of YouTube gold and positive press clippings, but not Bolt, not the fastest man on earth.

His arrival met with the standard fanfare. The last gold medal ceremony of the evening was coming to an end as the competitors made their way to the blocks. The mention of his name set the decibel level soaring and then 80,000 voices fell silent as if the starter had a volume switch in his hand.

The rasp of the starting device was the signal to unleash hell. Bolt hit the bend like a greyhound. This is the event best suited to his 6ft 5in frame. Blake kept him honest but nothing more. As he came to the finishing straight Blake was pumping his heaving bulk for all it was worth. Bolt was flying, head still, eyes on the prize.

Facts in figures

1 Bolt became first man to retain both sprint titles.

95% The fitness level Bolt claimed he was at before the start of the Olympics in London.

2 Bolt holds two of the best three 200m times ever recorded.

12 Hundreths of a second that Bolt beat Blake in both the 100 and 200m.

Topics:  london olympics usain bolt

COLD: Spring delivers freezing temperatures

Freezing cold weather to hit Toowoomba

IF YOU were a little chilly last night, here's why.

Police charge two men with drink driving

Police from three stations were at the cup.

Police charge two with drink driving overnight Saturday at Clifton

Trip from Warwick to Clifton ends with drink driving charge

Police have charged the man for drink driving.

Driver charged on trip from Warwick to Clifton early Saturday

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Former Warwick State High student is second

Victorian rider and former Warwick High student Lee Kimber (right) goes for his beast at the Warwick Rodeo.

Former Warwick High student to compete in national finals

13 things to do on the Southern Downs this weekend

Darcy Meek (left) is the early leader in parkrun on Saturday before being first man home.

Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News

Here's a list of 13 things to do this weekend.

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.