Hail the real chicken king

THE real chicken king is finally here. He eats them all the time and dances like one. But three perfect races, three gold medals, three world records and he’s grabbed the imagination of the world and confirmed his status as the biggest global star of the Beijing Olympics.

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Published: Sun 24 Aug 2008, 11:42 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

And he’s only 22. In a show of astounding talent Usain Bolt danced his way to the finish line with his shoelaces undone as he broke the world record in the 100 metres at 9.69. Had he gone flat out he may have passed the back-marker from one of the earlier heats. Everyone now knows that the Jamaican could have clipped a few more seconds off the record in the shorter sprint had he not slowed down 30 metres from the tape; to wave his hands, thump his chest and celebrate.

Bolt had so much time to spare he could have grabbed a sun-deck chair, gorged on some more chicken nuggets while he sat and listened to Jamaica’s other favourite son Bob Marley on his i-Pod before running again. He made the other great sprinters in the Beijing 100m line-up look like they had manacled feet of clay. On his 22nd birthday, last Thursday, Bolt shattered American legend Michael Johnson’s 12-year-old 200 metres record of 19.32 seconds. Bolt stopped the clock at 19.30 with another stunning display at the Bird’s Nest stadium. But this time he didn’t slow down. That victory made him the first man to hold the prestigious Olympic sprint double since the other great American Carl Lewis in 1984.

What makes him so very different from the others is Bolt doesn’t seem to be under any pressure. There’s no grimace, no fidgeting, nor any tension on his face before the start. As he gets ready to hit the blocks, he’s dancing to the tunes of a band in his head. And when he’s introduced before the start, Bolt strikes up a pose for the camera and smiles very mischievously. Those few minutes when he prances can unnerve a rival. On Friday, Bolt and team Jamaica smashed the 4x100m men’s relay in awesome fashion. Bolt then said that the enjoyment factor and his laid-back demeanour were key to his stunning treble. “I try and stay relaxed by messing around. When I enjoy myself I stay focused.” For now, he’s got bragging rights and you will see him do his victory dance, while pointing two fingers at the sky, for quite a few years. It’s the era of the chicken king.

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