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The Greatest Olympian of All time – Usain Bolt

The Olympics have pretty much dominated our lives over the past 15 days, the highlight of the events being Indian athletes performing better than expected and winning medals, and the other the absolute star of the Olympics – the track and field events. Our favourites are the running events 100m, 200m, 400m, 110m hurdles, 4×100 relay and so on.

The love affair with track and field started in the 80’s. This was when Carl Lewis was at his peak and dominated men’s athletics. Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper who topped the world rankings in the 100m, 200m and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990s, was named Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983, and 1984, and set world records in the 100m, 4×100m and 4×200m relays. His world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984 and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks. We have been blessed to have watched the man perform at the highest level. Watching Carl Lewis run was like poetry in motion, and the ease he ran with is something athletes find hard to emulate even today. On emulating style I think most runners now adopt the aggressive stance and style of Ben Johnson, he was Lewis’s nemesis and in the 1998 Olympics outran and beat Lewis. You had to watch Johnson in action – he was built like the Incredible Hulk and demolished everything and anything that came in his path, a pity that he was also a steroid freak – this resulted in Lewis being awarded the Olympic gold in ’88.

From there on we kept following the running events on and off; I think the peak was when the world championships would happen. Stars like Donavan Bailey, Justin Gatling, Linford Cristie, Maurice Green, Asafa Powel all took centre stage during the ’90’s into 2000 – these were super athletes, not only did they dominate their sport they also had a charisma which had reporters chasing them off the tracks. These men ran under the 10 second mark and put on a show that few others could. Of course, with the fame came issues of using steroids, bans on events, etc. But this never took away from the excitement of watching them on the idiot box; I remember cheering for Donavan Bailey in a particular meet and when he won our living room exploded with excitement. Of course, we have also followed the likes of Sebastian Coe, Sergei Bubka, Florence Griffin Joyner, Edwin Moses, Michael Johnson, etc., but none of them were as explosive as the sprinters. Speaking off Michael Johnson, he matched the sprinters in their flamboyance and also brought a one off style to athletics, he is the only male athlete in history to win both the 200m dash and 400m dash events at the same Olympics, a feat he accomplished at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Johnson is also the only man to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400m. Aside from his Olympic success, Johnson accumulated eight gold medals at World Championships, and is thus tied with Carl Lewis for the most gold medals won by any runner in history.

Enough about the past moving onto the present. None of the above mentioned athletes come close to the current Track and Field sensation Usain Bolt. He emerged on the scene in 2008 and has taken the athletic world by storm – his 2008 season began with his first performance – a 100m world record of 9.72 s – and culminated in world and Olympic records in both the 100m and 200m events at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. He ran 9.69 s for the 100m and 19.30 s in the 200m, and also set a 4×100m relay record of 37.10 s with the Jamaican team. Bolt’s greatest achievement though, is shattering the World Record in the 100m – the time 9.58. A lot has been written about Bolt and how his casual attitude will eventually get the better of him; this due to the fact that he was miles ahead of the field in the last Olympics and pretty much eased up towards the finish; purists believe he should have put his head down and run all the way, but Bolt chose to enjoy the moment. From then, till now, there have been races he has not won, false started and lost in, he even came 2nd in the Jamican qualifying rounds. Interestingly most critics and haters had written him off basis this year’s Olympics but after watching the race it was very clear there is only one man who can dominate the 100m and his name is Usain Bolt. Bolt had a late start and stayed with the field till about 50m but post that he accelerated. It is impossible for a human being to do what he did and by the end of the last 50m Usain was the winner with the field trailing much like the last Olympics. Next on the horizon the 200m and the relays, I do believe with Powel and Blake at his side, the Jamican team will dominate and it will be an absolute joy to watch one of the greatest sprinters ever to grace the sport…..

Off the track, Usain Bolt is very laid-back and relaxed, like most Jamaicans.  Bolt’s Jamaican track and field idols include Herb McKenley and former Jamaican 100m & 200m world record holder, Don Quarrie. The first sport to interest him was cricket and he said if he was not a sprinter he would be a fast bowler instead. As a child he was a supporter of the Pakistani cricket team and admired the bowling of Waqar Younis. During a charity cricket match, Bolt clean-bowled Chris Gayle. Gayle was complimentary of Bolt’s pace and swing. Bolt also struck a six off Chris Gayle’s bowling. All in all, Usain Bolt is a rockstar he has brought crowds back to the stadium and is 3 races shy of achieving God status in Track and Field Heaven.

Here are the crazy times set by these athletes across the years –

1. Usain Bolt – 9.69, Beijing 2008.

2. Donovan Bailey – 9.84, Atlanta 1996.

3. Ben Johnson – 9.79, Seoul 1988.

4. Justin Gatlin – 9.85, Athens 2004.

5. Maurice Greene – 9.87

6. Linford Christie – 9.96, Barcelona 1992.

7. Carl Lewis – 9.99, Los Angeles 1984.

8. Allan Wells – 10.25, Moscow 1980.

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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Categories

 

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Olympics Fixation

So the fixation with Sports for Mihir & me started courtesy Dad – my Dad loves all kinds of sports and has been watching them since decades. That interest definitely spilled over onto both of his kids :-). Sports – beyond Cricket & Football – like Basketball, Baseball, etc. were watched in the Shah household regularly. Enough of basking in the glory of watching all kinds of sport, coming back to the Olympics…

In 1982 there were the Asiad Games & for the same our family bought our first Color TV – the same was huge thing. Excitment all around considering the same was a 32″ Sony Telivision. At that time, India had only 1 channel the govenment run Doordarshan. The first Olympics we watched was the 1984 LA Olympics. The opening Ceremony, Lighting of the Torch, etc. were activities which were just unbelievable at that time. Also saw multiple different kinds of sports like – Volley Ball, Swimming, Diving, Steaple Chase, Athletics, to name a few. Over the years, till cable TV hit India, Doordarshan carried the Olympics; Cable TV, ESPN, etc. hit India during the early 90’s. The same changed India’s perspective on sports only from a viewership perspective.

Over the years, we saw some great feats in the Olympics and some great Atheletes right from Carl Lewis & his achievments in athletics, Sergie Bubka – the greatest Pole Vaulter of his time, Florence & Griffth Joyner – the sprint queens, Gail Deevers, Greg Lueganiss in diving,  Michael Johnson & his dominance in the 200m & 400m races, 1992 USA Dream Team in Basketball, Tennis Legends – Jenifer Capriati & Andre Aggasi, Michael Phelps probably the greatest Swimmer ever the list is endless. Through all through this there have been a few favorite sports: Athletics, Diving & Gymnastics. (Next Week we will have an article on the legendary Sprinters of our Generation).

This Years Olympics in UK have also been awesome and also the way we have started to see the same in terms of perspective has changed. Initially, it was about Winning & Losing, also about favourites and atheletes you didn’t favor. Now its more about the sport per say and the acheivments, also athletes and how they are able to push themselves which at some level just seems unreal. It’s like they are from a different planet :-). Details of this year’s medal winners is splattered across the web and we clearly didn’t want to cover the same, just wanted to share our experiance of the Olympics as probably the greatest Sporting Spectacle of All Time!!! Also Google changes its Google Doodle everyday with the theme of the Olympics… This is an event you dont want to miss.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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The Spider Busa

The UFC has always fascinated me – mixed martial arts fighters going at it Mano-a-Mano until one of them submit, or is knocked out. We have been watching The Ultimate Fighting Championships for a while now. Like with most sports not broadcast in India, the web was the best way to catch up on all the action. Next came DVDs and so on. UFC games have also dominated our videogame time…latest on the list UFC Undisputed 3.

Interestingly, last week was spent doing a fair amount of diligence on the Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen fight. Note: Since 2006, Anderson Silva has reigned as the most dominant champion in UFC history. 14-0 in the UFC, Silva has had little difficulty with most opponents. The one significant exception was Sonnen, who dominated Silva with wrestling and was close to winning in decisive fashion when Silva caught him in a submission in the fifth round of their first encounter. So this match was Sonnen’s opportunity to actually defeat the Spider. Sonnen also mounted a fair amount of trash talk and all against Silva, but really, when it came down to the match, it was a no show; Sonnen went down in round 2 courtesy a brutal knee from Anderson Silva followed by a flury of punches. Personally, I would have liked to see the fight go on for a few more rounds but then what is done is done. In other happenings around the match, there was a match between has beens – Tito Ortiz and Forest Griffin. They fought like two athletes way past their prime, Forest eventually won the match and that is about all there is to that. For some awesome Silva highlights, check the video below:

Anderson Silva has pretty much proved to the entire world that he is the greatest fighter of our generation; he has beaten anyone and everyone in his weight category and maybe above and below when required…few are his equal in this day and age. In the ring, there is no equal – he is a killer in there, but outside the ring, Anderson Silva is the quietest person you will find. Early in his life he worked at McDonalds. He also likes to play soccer as he has a soccer field in his backyard at his house in Curitiba, Brazil. He plays paintball and actually freezes the paintballs so it hurts more when you get hit! He owns a CBR600RR back home in Brazil and loves 2 wheels.

Given all these facts and given his brilliance in the ring, Rob Uecker from Voodoo Industries decided it was time to give the Spider a full custom motorcycle that would match his name, personality and fighting prowess. The Bike chosen for this was the Suzuki Hayabusa. Voodoo then ensured they got the right parts and collaborations to ensure it was converted to the “Spider Busa”. UFC fan, Jason, and his business partner Tommy from C&S Customs fabricated the lengthened single-side swingarm, configured the web theme into the arm, rotor and sprocket design and gave the motorcycle an impressive 6 inch over from standard look and feel. The back end was finished off with a special 240 wheel that housed a floating “spinner” yellow spider, which sits stationary on a bearing attached to the one offset of Spider Silva custom wheels.

Star Motorcycles and Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. have also gone the UFC motorcycle way and created 2 motorcycles – Both bikes were inspired by renowned UFC fighter Diego Sanchez. Frank Mir, another UFC fighter, is a motorcycle enthusiast. Unfortunately, he is known more for the unfortunate crash he had as compared to his love for the motorcycle – Mir was knocked off his motorcycle by a car. The accident caused a break in Mir’s femur and tore all the ligaments in his knee. The bone had broken in two places but the injury did not end Mir’s career as a fighter. Major surgery was needed to repair the bone in his leg. Other UFC fighters, who are into Motorcycles – our absolute favourite Matt Hughes and BJ Penn – don’t miss their rare picture to the left. If you have not seen the UFC yet, log on to Youtube and check some crazy action you will definitely not regret it.

For all you motorcycle geeks, here are the Impressive specs of the “Spider Busa”

Make/Model: 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa

Builder: Voodoo Industries, Rob Uecker

Engine: Shorty Duals w/Speakeasy Baffles: Voodoo Industries
See Thru Clutch Cover: TOCC
Clutch Set: DP
Air & Oil Filter: K&N
Glass Radiator Hoses: Voodoo Industries

Body: Paint, Molding Windscreen, Gator Glass “Spider Silva” Logos and Solo Hump: Gator Customs

Powdercoat: Sport Chrome

Swingarm: Single Side 240 Tubular Swingarm (Webbing, “Spider Silva” Rotor, “Web” Sprocket, Center Cap “Spider Silva” Spinner) C&S Custom

Wheels: 18 x 8.5 & 17 x 3.5 “Spider Silva” Custom Design: Voodoo Industries

Tires: 240/18 Elite 120/17: Dunlop,USA

Front Brake Rotor: Galfer

Brake & Clutch Lines: Galfer

Brake Pads: DP

Gauges “Spider Silva” Logo: StreetRacerParts.com

Mirror Block-Offs: Yanashiki

Levers & Grips: Yanashiki

Top Triple Tree, Fork Caps, Yoke Cap: Roaring Toyz
Fuel Cap: Roaring Toyz

Kickstand/Lowering Links: Roaring Toyz

License Plate Mount: Roaring Toyz

Axle Cover & Frame Plugs: Lawst Caws

Chain: RK

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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