Last night in the the UK was very special. I have never seen anything like it. It was as if we were waiting for a star British athlete to perform.
The nation got together in spirit long before 9.50pm so as not to miss the race of the century. It would be over in the blink of an eye so savouring the build up, in the way only the BBC does it, was all part of the moment, the aura, the expectation and the final experience. Everything else happening in the Olylpic stadium paled into insignificance. Even our very successful British sailor, Ben Ainslie, who made his own history with yet another medal, and a deserved Andy Murray beat Roger Federer in the Tennis, had little impact!
All day everyone I met kept reminding each other of when a certain Usain Bolt was in action and how they wouldn't miss it. Tickets for the day's action was all sold out, streets were deserted from very early on, and one could feel the electric anticipation as the evening wore on. From the time the athletic programme began, BBC presenters started counting down to the race: two hours before, one hour before, half hour before, etc. One would think there was some kind of earth shattering occasion approaching that we all had to be warned about and be present for. By the time a countdown clock appeared on the screen at 12 minutes before the race, and all the eight competing athletes were shown coming out to their blocks, spectators were hooked completely!
Up until that moment before the start of the race, one could hear the doubters loudly chattering about the man himself, that he would not do it. They have been at it for months, wanting to believe his ability to retain his title, but too much had happened in the last year, especially in the form of the main challenger to his crown, Yohan Blake, to convince them otherwise. The talk was all about the rising star and what he could produce. But the 92% of Jamaicans reported to have watched the race in Jamaica would not have had a single ounce of doubt about the eventual winner because Usain Bolt has stamped his personality, style and ambitions on fellow countrymen to such a degree, he could singlehandedly alter the face of Jamaica in many more ways than one. To imagine all those little Bolt fans lining up behind him wanting to duplicate his glory and achievements must be the most exciting that will happen to Jamaica over the coming years.
Well, once the countdown was finished, we all know the outcome of the race. The Legend triumphed again in easy style, the naysayers played like a fiddle in exactly the way Bolt wanted to play them.
I first realised exactly who we were dealing with when the BBC aired a documentary not long ago on Usain Bolt. And what struck me as absolutely unparalleled was the way he reacted to his disqualification in a major race last year. He didn't expect that loss and naturally reacted terribly badly. One felt for him watching him feeling impotent and shocked at his own foolhardy action, with all the cameramen following him too, equally shocked that the favourite was out of the race. But the remarkable way he bounced back just 5 days later, the words he spoke about that loss and his attitude to moving on from it was frankly astounding for a 25 year old. Even more interesting, when he was questioned about the way the adulation affected him, he said he didn't mind at all because that was part of his fame. And that was the time most people should have stood up and taken notice. The calm, regal way he lives his life is a lesson to all.
Usain Bolt is no ordinary athlete. He is a thinker, a spiritual person and a very canny business person all rolled into one. He knows exactly what he is doing, he is firmly guided by his coach and, above all all, he is one one the most positive and mature athletes ever seen. He is clearly going to do things his way, no one else's. But, sharing his positivity as I do, I have no doubt that his continuing glory comes from one overriding factor in his life: his enormous self-belief. He doesn't let negativity interfere with his thinking or preparations and takes each day in his stride.
Yes, he clearly has all the fears of a normal human being, but his difference is that he doesn't just accept them. He actually does something about them and that's why, on the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence from Britain, a new era is about to begin in that country, powered by one man who had a vision, who used his name to great effect and who showed what self belief, commitment and training can do. He will be doing far more for that little country's future than any other athlete has ever achieved because of one main reason: his continued success, mature behaviour, dignity and positivity will help a lot of the youth find their own way, and that cannot be a bad thing for that little country of my birth.
When he won in the Olympic Stadium today, one would have thought two Britons won the Gold and Silver medals. It was phenomenal the power over our emotions this man is now welding through his success. We saw history in the making last night, as Usain Bolt stormed to victory in easy fashion. But I feel sure that for Lightning Bolt, the best is yet to come! As he says, other people can only talk. He is the one who does the action - and he should know!
The only British disappointment for the day was Christine Ohuruogo's loss of her 400m title, though she got the Silver. We feel very proud of her performance though she felt she could have done better. She did well against a very determined American Sandra Richards-Ross who is the new golden champion.
23 Gold medals were awarded in the following 11 sports:
*Athletics(6) (Tiki Gelana, Ethiopia; Olga Rypakova, Kazakhstan; Krisztian Pars, Hungary; Sanya Richards-Ross, USA; Ezekiel Kemboi, Kenya; Usain Bolt, Jamaica)
*Badminton(2) (Chong Wai Lee, China;Lin Dan, China)
*Cycling (Lasse Norman Hansen, Denmark)
*Diving (Wu Minxia, China)
*Fencing (Team Italy)
*Gymnastics(3) (Kai Zou, China; Sandra Izbasa, Romania; krisztian Berkl, Hungary)
*Sailing(2) (Ben Ainslie, Great Britain; Team Sweden)
*Shooting (Jongoh Jin, South Korea)
*Tennis(3) (Serena Williams & V.Williams, USA; Andy Murray, Great Britain; V Azarenka & M Mirnyi, Belarus)
*Weightlifting (Zhou Lulu, China)
*Wrestling(2) (Hamid M Soryan Reihanpour, Iran; Roman Vlasov, Russia)
DAY 6 MEDAL LEADERS
2. China 61 (30Gold, 17Silver 14Bronze)
1. United States 60 Total (28Gold, 14Silver,18Bronze)
3. Great Britain 37 (16 Gold, 11Silver, 10Bronze)
4. South Korea 20 (10Gold, 4Silver 6Bronze)
5. France 25 (8Gold, 8Silver, 9Bronze)
(61 countries have won medals. 141 Gold medals of 302 available have now been decided.)
For detailed results and LIVE viewings
BBC Sport (videos might not be accessible)
London2012.com (Great pictures)