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10 Things I've Learned From Usain Bolt

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1. If your last name is "Bolt", you are either going to be a sprinter, or you are going to control the power of lightning! I believe Usain Bolt does both.

2. Sports stars are as much entertainers as they are athletes. The stars we love or hate have strong personalities. We think about Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, Charles Barkley, and Terrell Owens as much for their personal foibles as for their athletic ability. Ask the average person on the street what they know about Usain Bolt. Most likely they know he's fast; maybe they know he's Jamaican; but I'll bet they will talk about him winning the 2008 Olympic 100 metre race by such a wide margin that he took time to celebrate while the race was still on.

3. If you are great at one sport, you will probably be pretty good at another. Bolt is a pretty decent cricket bowler, for instance.

4. There is nothing you can't do if you are really, really, really good at running.

5. Usain Bolt is sponsored by Puma. I bet that Puma makes decent running shoes. I don't know, I've never owned any. I would also bet, however, that if they paid him enough, Usain Bolt would be on the track with a pair of canvas Converse all-star high tops, just laughing all the way to the bank.

6. Bolt is described by a lot of articles as "laid back" (a term he, admittedly, also uses to describe himself). It makes me wonder if we are just not capable of thinking of Jamaican people as anything but easy-going. It's like the rest of the world heard the Bob Marley song 'Jamming,' and decided "that's all we need to know about Jamaican culture. Right there."

7. I can't imagine how agonizing it must be to train relentlessly for a race that lasts only a few seconds, and lose by a nose. It must be even more agonizing to be disqualified from that race before it begins because of a false start. Maybe at that level you should know better...but then again, maybe the rules should be designed to encourage true competition.

8. When sports are viewed as entertainment, then the rules of entertainment begin to creep into sports. We want to see drama, quick edits, faster movement, more goals, less stops and starts, more action. Once the sport begins to adapt its rules and format to suit the rules of entertainment, the true spirit of competition and fairness can be compromised for the sake of higher ratings or more viewers.

9. There are times when you want to stand up and declare how proud you are of your country. For a small country in the Olympics, those times are few and far between; I'd imagine you would want to savour them.

10. If you do one thing really, really, really well for a long time, you can be very successful.

Josh blogs about the many things he has learned and continues to learn at tenthingsivelearned.com.

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