Saturday, 11 July 2009


Usain Bolt stares down the barrel of my lens. © Magnus Andersson

Well, my wishful thinking (see previous post) of having some exclusive time with the fastest man on the planet - Usain Bolt - was exactly just that, wishful thinking...there were at least ten TV crews and a smattering of photographers and radio people in tow, but it was still a nice little affair.

Usain Bolt checking out a start from the kids. © Magnus Andersson

Usain had arrived to speak to the kids of south London and gave them a little lesson in sprinting. What was surprising was how long he actually stayed. I would have guessed on us getting 5-10 minutes for a few pictures and then we'd be off, but he spent at least two hours on site, chatting to the kids and the media, signing autographs etc, I'm actually not sure how long he stayed as I had to leave to get the pictures in for deadline.

The fastest pair of legs ever to have sprinted on this planet. © Magnus Andersson

He started off with a Q&A session with the kids, and apparently he likes a lot of junk food, it doesn't really bother him, and he knows that his training burns all that stuff right off. Most probing question? How old are you? He just laughed and said 22. His physique is really rather normal, he is quite tall, but apart from that nothing particular to give way to the fact that he is the fastest sprinter ever seen.

Usain Bolt leaps out of the blocks in an explosive manner. © Magnus Andersson

He explained his starting technique for quite a while, going through the various stages of getting out of the blocks, but when he actually did one in real time it took me by surprise. He shot up like a bolt (sorry) of lightning at a perfect 45 degree angle with such power and speed that he leaped out of my frame in a split second.

Usain Bolt always seems relaxed and in control. © Magnus Andersson

His calm was also impressive, no matter how many cameras was trained on him, or when standing by for one of his many live-to-air interviews he did on the day, he never once looked like he was under any pressure. He completely took it in his stride.

Usain Bolt celebrates during his Olympic 100m win in Beijing. © Seattle Times

But I wonder if he'll live to regret his celebration during that famous Olympic record that he set last year, when he stopped sprinting and instead started celebrating 10m before the finishing line? To be honest I don't think he really cares. He seems to firmly believe that he can run even faster.

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