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A few more words about Bolt et al

I was in no condition to be writing when I filed my meet report early on Sunday morning (and the 3+ hour drive home was still waiting for me,) so I’m not terribly pleased with its quality.

I’m a little happier with today’s analysis, written after a few hours of sleep and incorporating quotes from a Thursday pre-meet press conference as well as the post-race face-time. And yet I still didn’t get all the ideas that were raised into print.

One of them, mentioned a few times over the weekend, was Bolt’s height. He’s 6’5”, extraordinarily tall for a sprinter, a fact Jere Longman of the Times noted at the meet (when the field is down in the blocks, Bolt’s legs are so long his butt sticks up significantly higher than anyone else’s, making him easy to pick out from beyond the finish line.) Longman’s article said, “Where shorter runners seem to explode out of the blocks, he seems to unfold.”

This is generally considered a disadvantage among sprinters, but Tyson Gay displayed his own scholarship of his event by saying, “Times change. Back in the day, there were some tall sprinters: [Linford] Christie, Carl [Lewis], they were tall. Then there was the Maurice Greene era, Jon Drummond, they were shorter. Now Bolt’s a lot taller.” Just a cycle, according to Gay, and maybe it has just been a matter, as Bolt’s coach seems to think, of figuring out the best way to get those long legs out of the blocks efficiently.

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