Olympic Gold Medallist Believes Sports ‘Suffered’ During Usain Bolt Era of Dominance

Published 08/16/2021, 4:14 AM EDT


Usain Bolt more or less dominated the tracks for over a decade. The men’s 100m and 200m sprint was firmly in his grasp and few came close to actually overtaking him. Amassing eight Olympic gold medals throughout his era of glory, the Jamaican not only became the face of the track world but of the Olympic Games in general. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

As is the case with any major sport, the spotlight is on the star attraction. As a marquee star, many tuned into the Olympic Games just to watch Usain Bolt win gold and potentially break yet another world record. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 09: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses believed this is precisely what made sports suffer when Bolt was in his prime. Moses, who specialized the 400m hurdles race himself and won golds in 1976 and 1984, believes that everything else fell short due to the Jamaican taking the spotlight.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“I think the sports somewhat suffered when Usain was always winning,” Moses told Stats Perform. “A lot of the meets wouldn’t even get television coverage unless he was coming into the race. That started happening back in the 80s where TV kind of got addicted. They wouldn’t cover the sport unless they had someone going for a world record.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 17: Andre de Grasse of Canada (L) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) react as they compete in the Men’s 200m Semifinals on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Track and Field has gained a lot more attention as a whole without Usain Bolt

At the Tokyo Olympics this year, we witness the first Games without Usain Bolt. The atmosphere was certainly different and a lot of other names emerged together into the spotlight. For once, it was not only about Bolt. 

“Track and field is like a three-ring circus – it takes a family in order to have a good track meet. You have to have all these things going on,” Moses explained. “It’s not just about who’s going to be the fastest man or the fastest woman.”

BEIJING – AUGUST 20: Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after breaking the world record with a time of 19.30 to win the gold medal in the Men’s 200m Final ahead of Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe and Shawn Crawford of the United States at the National Stadium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Confused fans looked for a person they could hang on to as a replacement for Usain Bolt, and they found many. Be it Athing Mu, Armand Duplantis, or Karsten Warholm, a number of stars were noticed in Tokyo. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“The field events are just as important as the running events,” Moses added. “That men’s shot put was outstanding. The women’s discus was outstanding, as was the women’s triple jump.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 400m Hurdles – Final – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 3, 2021. Karsten Warholm of Norway and Rai Benjamin of the United States in action. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

“No one wants to just watch the 100 meters and the 200 meters and then tune out on everything else and switch the channel – you have to be able to keep people’s attention.” (h/t Barbados Today)

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Needless to say, the post Usain Bolt era is shaping up nicely as a number of other sports are being noticed. Michael Phelps’ looming shadow in swimming is also being covered by stars such as Caeleb Dressel, Katie Ledecky, and Ariarne Titmus. Paris 2024 will be the perfect moment for this to progress in (hopefully) the presence of a live audience. 

DIVE DEEPER

“This Year Will Be Ours”- Usain Bolt Delighted With Manchester United’s Dominant Performance vs Leeds United

about 1 month ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Luke Dias

1547 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT