NPR Story
4:08 pm
Sun August 5, 2012

Usain Bolt Still The World's Fastest Man

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 5:46 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just tuning in, this is WEKEENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

OK, spoiler alert. We're going to go live to London now for the latest on the day's events at the Olympics, including the event everyone's been following, the men's 100-meter final with the world record holder Usain Bolt. NPR's Mike Pesca is in London. Mike, let's start with the main event. Usain Bolt, the most appropriately named runner ever.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Absolutely, because that atmosphere in that arena was electric as Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt blew away the field, relatively, put up a time of 9.63, the second-fastest a human being has ever run the 100. It's an Olympic record. Usain Bolt wins gold, his countryman Yohan Blake wins silver, and then three Americans. So Justin Gatlin gets the bronze, Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey.

In fact, except for Asafa Powell, another Jamaican who pulled up a little lame - I wasn't sure what was going on there - seven of the competitors post a sub-10 100 meters. It wasn't but a decade or so ago that that was seen as some great mark to break. Now, it is de rigueur among the elite.

RAZ: It was incredible. I watched it. It happened so fast I was waiting for the replay.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: That is - you know what? That is a mark of the 100 meters, is it not, and also an explanation for Bolt's excellence. And then after the 100 meters, he ran about 150 more meters just around the - track as momentum would take him, and did the arrow and donned the Jamaican flag.

Afterwards, a BBC interviewer was asking him to speak up for his teammate Yohan Blake. And Bolt said: Well, you know, he has a great future ahead of him, he beat everyone in the field, then paused and said: Well, almost everyone, and pointed to himself. He's got the great cockiness of 100 meter athlete. They all do a little - a little bit of signage, a little symbol before the race. They have great egos. They have to, because he is the fastest man in the world.

RAZ: Some news for women. Richards-Ross, she won the 400 meter gold.

PESCA: Yup. Sonya Richards-Ross, the American, won the 400 meter gold. The Americans did great in that event. The Americans have been doing just fantastic on the track. Maybe not so good in the hammer throw, which was the other event contested today, or the javelin, but, yeah, they've been blazing - Galen Rupp in the 10K. As much as the English have been very happy about their efforts at the track, America has nothing to be ashamed of so far.

RAZ: Mike, let me ask you about Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee known as the Blade Runner. He also competed today. How'd he do?

PESCA: Yeah. Well, he did well just to make the semifinals. And, of course, there is great controversy but also a great amount - you could look at what he does as a great achievement, and it certainly is. He failed to make the finals of the 400. But, you know, the times he put up, this is one of those, needless to say, the greatest ever for an athlete born without fibula.

RAZ: Mm. Yeah. Indeed. It's amazing to watch him run. So what else of note happened at the Olympics today, Mike?

PESCA: Well, you know, one great event was tennis. And tennis has come under some fire, not within the tennis community, but without. Why is it an Olympic event? We like the Olympics to be the premier event in a sport, maybe not for, you know, basketball, but that's technically on the club level, so the greatest international event.

But I have to say what happened today at Wimbledon where Andy Murray, the Scotsman, put away Roger Federer, something he could not do in the finals or has never done in a grand slam finals, and he won the gold for men's singles. And I would say that everyone watching it, everyone in the stadium said this is a great victory and tennis belongs here.

The Williams sisters also won doubles gold. The - Serena Williams yesterday won gold for the U.S. women. So to watch some of those tennis events - and these tennis players take it so very seriously, and they play their hearts out. And Andy Murray, who's won millions of dollars on the tour and will only be, for him, lightly compensated for this win set, it was the greatest day of his life.

RAZ: That's NPR's Mike Pesca in London covering the Olympics. Mike, thanks.

PESCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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