What Usain Bolt did at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin earlier this month, breaking the 100 and 200 meter world records while capturing the bi-annual event's sprint races, is, well, insane, simply off the charts, the sports story of the year.
Bolt won the two races in record times of 9.58s for the 100 meters and 19.19s for the 200, breaking marks the Jamaican sprinter set at last summer's Olympics in Beijing.
In events where the difference between first and fifth can often be as minute as a body lean or a slightly askew stride, Bolt is putting visible distance between himself and his competition.
Bolt is now the only sprinter in history to break his own 100 meter mark twice. Only one other runner has ever broken his own mark (Asafa Powell) and only three (Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell and Powell) have held the 100 meter record more than once. Bolt has now held the 100 meter record three times. With each lengthy stride, the 23-year old native of Trelawny, a village on Jamaica's north coast, is sprinting into new track territory.
Since the 100 meter record was kept in hundreds rather than only tenths in 1968, no other sprinter has broken the 100 meter record by as wide margin as Bolt did when he shaved .11 off his 9.69 mark. As the record time continues to decrease, the likelihood that the record would be broken by ever decreasing margins seems logical. Yet Bolt obliterated his own record by more than a tenth of second!
Since Powell set the 100 meter mark of 9.74s on September 9, 2007, Bolt has shaved .16 off the standard. Took 16 years to trim that much time off the mark and 55 years before that to achieve another .16. Bolt has done that in less than two years.
In the hundred, he runs faster than most scooters, topping out at a stunning 28 MPH. American sprinter Wallace Spearmon, who finished third in the 200 at the championships, likened running in a race with Bolt to participating in a video game, so surreal is the sense that you cannot possibly, even with your most Herculean performance, catch Bolt if Bolt so chooses at the moment.
And therein lies the beauty and charisma of Bolt. A simple purity embellishes his running style - the 6'5" three-time Olympic gold medalist is lithe and lean while most successful sprinters are powerful and balanced - a style so seemingly devoid of exertion that he appears to float while the rest of the human race strains. Is a sub 19 200 possible? A sub 9.4 100?
Getting Favre's Goat
Everything about Brett Favre's unretirement scenario has been strange. From his public feud with the Packers to his short lived comeback with the Jets and widely reported off-season courtship and eventual marriage to Left Field's beloved and beleaguered Minnesota Vikings the saga has just drug on. But the story took a turn for the bizarre last Friday in the small town of Winona, Minnesota when a Packer fan showed up at an auto repair shop with a purple goat locked in her trunk. The live goat, which was discovered by mechanics after the woman left the shop, had the number '4' shaved into the side of its body. The goat was turned over to authorities and no one is sure exactly what the woman's plans were for it, but speculation ran rampant that the goat may have been intended for some sort of public sacrifice.
He's our favorite take which has a nice Old Testament bent to it from the comment thread on one of the national sports blogs where posters theorized it could have been part of a Jewish pre-game ritual.
"If its entrails run red, Brett Favre will stay out of retirement. If its entrails are dry, Brett Favre will pretend to retire, then come out of retirement. If a hawk flies overhead with a rabbit caught in its beak, Brett Favre will pretend to retire, then unretire, then really retire, then come back from retirement to play Left Back for the Seattle Sounders."
I think that pretty much sums it up.
Oh yeah, Favre went 1-4 for four yards. His back-up, the much-maligned Tavaris Jackson, meanwhile went 12-15 for 205 yards and two TD's.