Bolt set to conquer another city!

Bangalore gears up to welcome the track and field legend at the Chinnaswamy

Bolt set to conquer another city!

Over the years, Bangalore has witnessed many a legendary figure in track-and-field walk in and grace the city’s sporting arenas.

From the legendary Emil Zatopek to sprinters supreme Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene and from long distance great Paul Tergat to middle distance marvel Maria Mutola, they have all put their footprints here – sharing their knowledge and inspiring the new generation.

To that illustrious list, an incandescent name in world sport will be added on Tuesday when Usain St Leo Bolt takes his giant strides into the city. 

That the Jamaican sprint king won’t be in action on an athletics track might be a disappointment but that is offset by the fact that one can see in flesh and blood the man who has wowed the world with his performances and transformed his sport, raising interest-levels sky-high.

For the last six years, the Jamaican phenomenon has had a stranglehold on the most coveted world record in athletics – the 100M. The 200M world record is also in his name, as also a share of the 4x100 record, helping him tower above the athletics universe. 

Ever since storming the fans’ consciousness at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Bolt has grown into a superstar, the likes of which the world has rarely seen. In the high pressure world of sprinting, he stands apart with his cool demeanour but Bolt’s influence goes far beyond the track as he strikes a chord with fans the world over.

That ability to bond with individuals from every level of the society -- from kings to the commonest of fans -- sets him apart. Former Olympic champion Michael Johnson, himself a legendary figure and an athlete that Bolt admires, once described the Jamaican’s talent as ‘other-worldly.’  

The American was referring to the ease with which Bolt wins his races as well as his longevity. Athletes have come and gone within the blink of an eye, impressing for a short while but Bolt has stayed on, winning six Olympic gold medals to pass the test he himself had set for becoming a legend. 

“It would be difficult for most athletes to dominate for as long as Bolt has, but it isn’t so much for him because he is so much better than others,” Johnson had told the BBC after last year’s World Championships in Moscow, where Bolt won his eighth gold medal.

Johnson also felt Bolt’s 2009 World Championships performances — when he set world records of 9.58 seconds in the 100M and 19.19 in the 200 — could be his best ever because he may not run faster than that in either event.

Perhaps, he will. Perhaps he won’t. He doesn’t have to, for he has nothing left to prove. But having decided to stretch his career past the Rio Olympics in 2016, Bolt can set the stage alight all over again, like only he can.

London, Paris, New York, Berlin, Beijing, Glasgow... the cities the Jamaican has conquered are more than a handful. To that list, you can add Bangalore too, come Tuesday. Welcome to the Garden City, Usain St Leo Bolt!

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