Is Bolt the Greatest Athlete Today?
He may not be a decathlete, but Usain “Lightening” Bolt is hands-down the top male athlete in professional sports today. Yes I am talking about the best today – not five years ago, or last year or even potential for the future.
Besides the fact that the six foot, five inch Jamaican sprinter is a freak of nature in being able to run well under 10-seconds and 20-seconds respectively in the 100 meters (9.69) and 200-meters (19.30). It is not overstating the matter to say that Bolt threw down arguably the most dominant performances in the history of sports.
Not even Michael Johnson or Carl Lewis did what Bolt pulled off in Beijing. Three races. Three gold medals. Three world records. It was an astonishing culmination of performances to watch the 100, 200 and then the 4×100-meter relay victories come one after another.
Bolt is a lot like Michael Johnson in that he has the best physical tools and the most mental toughness, a combination that makes him a formidable opponent.
He shines the brightest among the biggest names in professional sports today.
In other sports, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady are both on the sidelines recovering from surgery. No matter how much overtime the Nike marketing machines work, LeBron James has yet to win a NBA title. While Michael Phelps may be the greatest swimmer ever, the real question is whether it would be possibly to achieve eight gold medals if he were running? Umm…it’s doubtful – please refer to Lance Armstrong’s running efforts for further reference.
Alex Rodriguez may be the youngest to hit 500 homers, but he’s questionable at best in the playoffs, and baseball has far too much standing around to be a serious contender.
Punching is the upper body equivalent to running, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has dominated boxing with scorching speed, strength, and the ability to endure pain. Boxing is a brutal, demanding sport, but Mayweather battles in the middleweight division, making him ineligible of winning top honors due to his size.
Winger Cristiano Ronaldo may very well be the best overall soccer player in the world and a prime time contender in this conversation. Last year, he won two titles- the English Premiership and the UEFA Champions League – a noteworthy feat in a sport packed with phenomenal athletes.
As it stands today, no one has even come close in 2008 to delivering the jaw dropping, “did he really just do that” moments that Bolt produced in Beijing.
Jay Hicks is a freelance writer and can be found at the popular track and field PreraceJitters.com.