There is no such thing as a new Usain Bolt. Just like Bolt wasn’t the next Carl Lewis. Even Lewis, the new Jesse Owens.
Many journalists are tempted to label our sports icons by comparing or outright equating them with others, rather than giving them credit for who they are and their accomplishments. In other words: there is no better recognition than the recognition that you are the best version of each of you.
This is probably why the first thing that comes to mind after the penultimate day of the World Championships in Athletics in Budapest 2023 is to announce that, finally, thanks to his triple crown, Noah Lyles appears as the real successor to Usain Bolt. Error and truth in the same concept. A mistake, because both objectively and subjectively, I cannot imagine that I would see someone alive who is capable of generating something like a Jamaican. The targets were his results, starting with an Olympic gold treble between Beijing and Rio (his quad world treble was only cut short by a false start in the 100m in Daegu in 2011). Subjective is the energy that every performance has produced in all of us, from the explosion in 2008 to his retirement in London in 2017.
This is true because, in fact, Lyles’ success in the 100m, 200m and the final score makes him a concrete symbol of the renaissance of speed in North America, even exceeding the expectations created some time ago by Christian Coleman, whose oscillations came on and off. footprints leave him far away from a teammate’s figure.
In addition to the special closing of the day, the 8th day of Budapest 2023 brought other golden and magnificent performances.
Chase Or won her second world title – she won gold at Eugene in 2022 – in the shot put, and she did it superbly. The 29-year-old North American far outperformed her rivals and dominated the competition with 20.43m, her best of the season, and a distance of 35cm compared to the silver medal won by Canada’s Sarah Mitton. Tokyo Olympic champion and multiple World Championship medalist Lijiao Gong finished third.
In terms of track and field trials, the men’s decathlon ended after the 1500m final. Canadian Piers LePage won gold with 8909 points earned in ten tests. His compatriot Damian Warren finished second with 8804 points and Lyndon Victor was third with 8756 points. It was also a great day for Canada. In addition to silver in the shot put and 1-2 in the decathlon, Marco Arop became the champion in the 800 meters. The 24-year-old, born in Sudan but playing for Canada, won his first world title.
On the other hand, Faith Kipyegon made it clear that everything achieved in the 1500m can be repeated in the 5000m. Kenya won her first world title at that distance and her second gold medal in Budapest. The great Siffan Hasan won the silver medal, while another Kenyan, Beatrice Chebet, took the bronze.
Double success in North America at the end of the day and own solvency eventually minimized Duplantis’ huge new display that condemned him to victory long before his 6.23m pole vault score zero.
It’s likely that failing to break the historical mark again was the most direct way to put his huge hierarchy in context, and that sometimes we just emphasize his status as a champion.
Isn’t it great that an athlete has won fewer world and Olympic titles than he has broken a world record once?