In Beijing, for example, there was additional pressure on Bolt to deliver, and the superstar delivered emphatically by destroying the myth of a Justin Gatlin challenge in that first big race of the championships. It is a victory that with all things considered, must have inspired every member of that Jamaica team to even greater excellence. I remember watching a video clip of members on the Jamaican team in a hotel room in the athletes’ village watching that 100m final, obviously shot with a cellular phone, with running commentary by some of the athletes. You could hear the near reverence with which the big man is held within the team coming out in the comments. When the big man, Bolt, beat Gatlin at the line to win gold, the phone was still running and it captured the ensuing pandemonium with the loud, jubilant, and colourful cheers by the Jamaicans, who stormed out of the room and into the hallways. The big man had delivered and Jamaica was the best. The bar was now officially set in the biggest event of them all. Confidence must have swept through the Jamaica team like wildfire as the proverbial domino effect followed. BOLT EFFECT EXPIRATION Twelve medals, inclusive of seven gold, two silver, and three bronze, saw Jamaica finish in an impressive second on the table at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. It is fair to say the dream run continues for Jamaica in international track and field. There has been one constant in recent years of Jamaican excellence in the sport in the form of Usain St Leo Bolt, the inspirational leader and standout performer whose influence directly and indirectly cannot be overstated during this period of pound-for-pound dominance by Jamaica. Bolt was at it again in Beijing, winning his now customary three gold to take his total to 11 World Championships gold medals. Amid the euphoria of celebrating the success of the Jamaican ambassadors, there is the clear and present danger, I think, of taking the ‘Bolt Effect’ on Jamaica’s on-the-track fortunes for granted. Bolt invariably leads from the front, with the stellar 10-metre event run off early in all the major championships, giving Bolt the perfect platform to set the platform. INSPIRATIONAL VICTORY The Jamaican governing body, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, must recognise and address the inevitable fall-off that will occur when the ‘Bolt Effect’ expires. The soundings are that Bolt could walk away from the sport in another two years. The void that will result from that eventuality obviously cannot be filled, but things need to be put into place to minimise the fallout from that imminent Bolt exit. We all need to understand and appreciate the fact that we are all living in the time of the greatest athlete to have ever walked the face of the Earth and that if and when he goes, the sport will not be the same, and Jamaica’s status will not be the same. It is going to take some major adjustments locally and internationally to appreciate life in track and field after Bolt. By all means, we must continue to enjoy the spectacular brilliance and genius of Bolt, but we need also to understand clearly that it cannot and will not last forever, and that sooner, rather than later, Jamaica especially, will have the arduous task of continuing our quest for excellence in the sport of track and field without the ‘Bolt Effect’.
0Shares0000Confident smile: Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp addresses the media in Rome © AFP / Alberto PIZZOLIROME, Italy, May 2 – Liverpool will not make the same mistake as Barcelona and underestimate Roma at their fortress Stadio Olimpico, Jurgen Klopp has warned as his side target a place in the Champions League final.The five-time champions have a 5-2 lead heading into the second leg of a semi-final overshadowed by security concerns and are favourites to reach their eighth final and first since 2007. But Roma — who last reached the final in 1984 when they lost on penalties to Liverpool — have not conceded a goal at home in the Champions League this season.Eusebio Di Francesco’s side beat Chelsea and Barcelona 3-0, with the win over the Spaniards overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit to put them through to the final four.Despite conceding two late goals in last week’s emphatic first-leg win at Anfield, Klopp knows his side’s destiny is in their hands as they bid to seal their place in the May 26 final in Kiev against Real Madrid.“After the game, people acted as if we lost, but we won 5-2. And after a week people say Roma ‘only’ need to win 3-0, but that’s quite a result,” Klopp told a press conference in Rome.“I’m not here to say anything about Barcelona. In that game, Roma were more than ready.“Everybody’s telling us that it’s quite difficult and it’s possible but nobody told Barcelona, because nobody imagined it could happen.“I didn’t need a warning but if I did, there it was. We’re in a much better situation than I would have thought before the game, that’s the truth.– ‘Fight for our dreams’ –“Whatever I say, we still have to play, and I really like that fact.“We are here to fight for our dreams, that’s how it is, and we want to go to the final as you can imagine,” the Liverpool boss continued.“But that means there is a football game to play and I am really looking forward to it because that’s what you want. You want to play when it is big stakes for the big things, and that is why we are here. It is a great opportunity.”Di Francesco insisted his side “want to try and do something big in a stadium with 70,000 people”.“The desire to make another miracle happen must push us all to give that extra something.”The safety of fans in the Italian capital has overshadowed the build-up, with 3,000 police officers deployed around the city for the match after a Liverpool fan was attacked by hard-core Roma ultras outside the club’s Anfield stadium last week and left in a coma.Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said that the Liverpool squad had been “devastated” to hear about the condition of the fan, Sean Cox.“It’s a game and everybody has to be safe and enjoy it,” he said.Roma’s players showed their support for Cox by wearing shirts bearing the words “Forza Sean” (Come on Sean) during a training session on Tuesday, but the atmosphere in the city remains tense.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
SEATTLE – Robinson Cano seemed to be next in line as the player to wear New York Yankees pinstripes for his entire career, all set to follow the path laid before him by mentors named Jeter, Posada and Rivera.And then the Seattle Mariners blew him away with an offer of financial and career security the Yankees never came close to matching.“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able to play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day. Would I be able to play?” Cano said. “The one thing in Seattle is I get the chance. Am I going to keep working hard? Yes. Even harder? Yes. I’m going to do my best and play the same way I was playing in New York and go out there and do my business and win games.”Cano never stopped smiling late on Dec. 12 as he was introduced as the Mariners’ new All-Star second baseman. He had $240 million reasons to grin after signing a deal that tied for the fourth largest in Major League Baseball history. He has security for the next 10 years knowing that at age 31, he’ll likely never go through the process of needing to seek another contact.With music mogul Jay Z watching from the side of the room, his first client with Roc Nation Sports inked the fifth deal in MLB history to top the $200 million mark. “Today isn’t about me. It’s about him,” Jay Z said as he declined interview requests.Cano and his negotiating team spoke glowingly of working with the Mariners and Seattle General Manager Jack Zduriencik. But Cano felt the Yankees lacked in their efforts to keep him.Asked if he ever thought he’d leave New York, Cano said, “Honestly, no.” Later, Cano said he never felt the Yankees wanted him back.“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,” Cano said.The Yankees’ top offer was $175 million over seven years. Cano said he didn’t want to go through the contract process in his mid-to-late 30s. Seattle’s willingness to push the contract out to 10 years — and the whopping monetary commitment — sealed the agreement.Cano was New York’s most feared hitter for the past several years, and the loss of a middle infielder who bats .300 and hits 30 homers stings. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage last season and finished fifth in American League MVP voting.Only the two deals signed by Alex Rodriguez — first with Texas and then the Yankees — and Joey Votto’s contract with Cincinnati were worth more. Albert Pujols also signed a $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Cano will make $24 million per season from 2014-23 and the contract includes bonuses for awards.(Tim Booth, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares