It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Usain Bolt, aided by his three teammates in the 4x100m relay, pulled off the unprecedented triple-triple – three gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games – and there’s already a gaping hole where he used to be. Sure, he’ll be present and accounted for at the World Championships in London next year, but he won’t be going for another triple, so it won’t be the same.
Usain is adamant that Rio 2016 is his last Olympics, so by the time we get to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, his stunning achievements will only be distant memories. There will be no new, amazing feats for us to anticipate. Members of the Tokyo 2020 IOC are probably already tearing their hair out trying to figure out what to do to ensure that people give a damn and turn out in their thousands. But how will they replace the irreplaceable?
I high key want Usain to just run one event, just the 4x100m relay, so he can go for a 10th gold medal. He’s currently one of only four athletes to have nine gold medals, which is amazing. But the problem is that one of those athletes is Carl Lewis, who has displayed nothing but badmind and hateration since Bolt’s emergence in 2008. We don’t want the king’s name to constantly be mentioned in the same breath as Da Man Deh, so something has to be done.
If he’s well and truly hanging up his spikes, I’ve come up with five surefire ways for the Tokyo IOC to ensure that the king is still visible and active at the 2020 Games. The people will want to see him, so here’s how the IOC can give them their money’s worth:
- He can light the Olympic flame. Sincere apologies to whichever Japanese sports star this honour would have otherwise gone to, but Usain is the show. Imagine the roar of the crowd as the king steps up to light the flame, especially if the IOC keeps his appearance under tight wraps until then. That alone will be worth the price of admission, IMO.
- He can present the medals. Who wouldn’t want to receive their medals from Lightning Bolt himself? That would be even better than winning, even if you broke a world record! He can present to all the winners of his former events, or to the winners of every event ever, even sailing. We don’t care. We just want to see him.
- Give him the starter’s gun. He’s been on the other side waiting for that ‘pow!’ so why not let him experience the races from the starter’s perspective?
- Have him lead out the Jamaican delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies. I’m sure the Jamaican team wouldn’t mind having him around, infusing the camp with his energy and fun vibe.
- Random circuits of the track in the ‘crissest’ Japanese luxury cars. Bolt is already Nissan’s Global Director of Excitement (yes, that’s legit), so this is not a stretch. Make it happen, Nissan!
We’re not ready to say goodbye yet, Usain. We know you have other things you want to focus on, and Miss Jennifer is hounding you for grandbabies, but we can’t let go just yet. You have rescued the sport, given us eight solid years or joy and amazement, and in doing so, you have spoiled us. Without you, everything goes back to normal – regla degla old track meets. How are we going to go back to the days of boring, stony-faced introductions? How are we going to go back to watching mere mortals huff and puff across the finish line in regular 100m and 200m times? Even if they do manage to run spectacular times, how are going to get excited about them when they’re just…runners?
Your sport owes you an enormous debt. Your fans are forever grateful to have witnessed your exploits. But if you could, just briefly consider my suggestions? Please?