Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Bolt from the past

The century dash final last night was such a breeze for Jamaican speed demon Usain Bolt that I personally felt disappointed it paled in comparison to the 2004 final in Athens.

Sure the televised broadcasts over Astro or RTM offer you a flavoured glimpse into various aspects of the Games but there is still nothing like being there, being part of history, in the moment and in the flesh.

My most unforgettable moment in Athens was being there to enjoy the pre-race atmosphere. It was out of this world. It resembled the build-up to a classic heavyweight title fight with the eight finalists waving and gesturing to the capacity crowd who had been clapping, dancing and singing to the the rhythmic and soothing sound of the Sirtaki, the Greek folk classic made famous in the final scene of "Zorba the Greek".

How smart the organisers were. They blared the song, composed by Mikis Theodarakis, over the sound system. It built to a crescendo every few seconds as the crowd clapped along...I must confess it was electrifying and it gave me goosebumps each time my mind wanders back to the ancient city.

I love the song so much that I continued listening to the CD (bought at Carrefour across the Main Press Centre) on a daily basis for more than a year.

While I was soaking up the atmosphere, my fellow Malaysian adventurers were having their rendezvous with the then Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

I did not cut a lonely figure there, as I was swept by the emotions in the presence of my fellow spectators in our rendezvous with history.

For the record, Justin Gatlin shot off the blocks to win the race ahead of Francis Obikwelu and Maurice Greene in what was the closest ever 100m race in Olympics history!

Bolt was nowhere near the final then as he was plagued by injury and competed in the 200m. But I did meet him in a specially arranged press conference held by the Jamaican team outside Athens. That was where I got this CD (above)!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

while the competition was great in 2004, the dominance of Bolt this around is just amazing...out of this world. I have never seen such an amazing feat equating the dominance of Michael Phelps in swimming. Just hope there's no accusations of doping like what happended to Mo Greene not too long ago