With the summer Olympics at the half-way mark, here are some observations:
Track – Usain Bolt
After watching Usain Bolt shattering the world record with a 9.69 in the 100m, I realize I have been coaching the event all wrong. I always thought sprinters had to use their arms in the last 20 metres of the race. Apparently holding them out like wings while pounding the chest is faster. I can hardly wait to implement this new technique!
Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals in swimming was a super story.
But the best race performance, for me, was watching his teammate, 32 year-old Jason Lezak on the final leg of the of the 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
Lezak was anchoring against the world record holder in the 100m freestyle, Alain Bernard, of France. Bernard had done some trash-talking before the race, stating that the French team would smash the Americans. As the race progressed and the final exchange took place, it appeared that Bernard’s prediction would come true, as he entered the water almost body-length ahead of Lezak.
However, as the Frenchman raced down the pool, he edged too close to his lane line. Lezak, the canny veteran, realizing the mistake, edged over to their shared line and drafted behind Bernard, riding his bow-wave, like a dolphin with a ship. It was a rookie error on Bernard’s part, and Lezak made him pay.
With 10 metres to go, Lezak, who had expended a fraction of the energy of the Frenchman, made his charge, head bobbing, legs thrashing and arms flailing furiously. The move was so dramatic, that he almost appeared to lift out of the water. Lezak out-touched Bernard by 8/100th of a second after having swum the fastest relay leg in history.
It was something to see. Michael Phelps deserves the attention he’s receiving, but he owes his record of 8 gold medals to Jason Lezak.
There will be more Olympic observations in the next blog.
P.S. Bernard later redeemed himself by winning the 100m freestyle in a new world record.
Dick Moss, Editor,
[tags]Olympics,Usain Bolt,Jason Lizak,swimming,track[/tags]