After Bolt, the athletics is afraid of the vacuum

Sport 15 August, 2017

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev Agence France-Presse
With the departure of superstar Usain Bolt, it’s the first olympic sport loses more than a rider of exception.

A page is closed Saturday with the retirement of the legend of sprint, Usain Bolt and athletics, always caught up in doping scandals and corruption, is now seeking a new head of gondola and a better organisation of its competitions to captivate the general public.


With the departure of the superstar jamaican, the first olympic sport loses more than a rider of exception. There are, of course, the records and the awards staggering the fastest man in history (9 sec 58 over 100 m, 19 sec 19 about 200 m), but it is, above all, his ability to lift crowds and interest beyond the circle of insiders that could be lacking.


“Fill the space “


A situation which was perfectly aware the president of the international Federation (IAAF), Sebastian Coe.


“What we will miss is his personality, has estimated the former double olympic champion in the 1500 m We want athletes with personality. It is more fun to have someone who has a point of view and happens to fill a stadium. It has too many athletes formatted that to look right and left and are nervous before daring to answer a question. Bolt had an opinion and things to say, and it is this that will most of us miss. “


According to the economist of sport Vincent Chaudel, questioned by AFP, the danger is indeed not to see the emergence of athletes “capable of occupying the space” as the Bolt.


“We have not necessarily found people who are invested in the codes of communication today. Therefore, the risk is to have an empty performance and buzz, ” he explained.


Bolt remains a unique case, and Global-2017 have not brought to light especially to champions with the same charism and the same will be likely to take on the role of flag-bearer of the athletics.


The IAAF relied heavily on the South African Wayde Van Niekerk, but his failure in the quest for the doubled 200-400 m, only managed by American Michael Johnson (World-1995 and JO-1996), has kept it from being the big winner of the Championships of the world. And it is even made to steal the limelight by the people of Botswana Isaac Makwala, who has become the darling of the spectators after having been deprived of the final of the 400 m and have been recovered in extremis on the 200 m due to an outbreak of gastro-enteritis.


The series of Makwala on the half-lap around the track, raced alone, and its pumps arrive in the form of a challenge, have ignited the olympic Stadium. Not Van Niekerk, however, winner of the 400 m and 2nd in the 200 m, but appeared to be too cold to thrill the audience.


Old demons


The issue is of importance to a sport which should restore an image seriously tarnished in recent years by cases of corruption and doping, have led to the suspension of the Russian federation in November 2015. The success to the jeers and shouts of the penitent Justin Gatlin, suspended twice in his career and that spoiled the farewell of Bolt on 100 meters, has demonstrated that the athletics had not finished with his old demons. Sebastian Coe himself did not hide that the outcome was not ” the ideal scenario “, reiterating his wish to see put in place of the radiation to life.


The salvation of the athletics also went through a redesign of a calendar unreadable for the sports enthusiast, outside of the major Championships and the olympics, or even the format of the competitions. The creation in 1998 of a circuit elite, the Golden League, transformed into Diamond League in 2010, was supposed to remedy. But there is nothing that requires an athlete of renown to participate, and the trays vary too often from one event to the other.


This is one of the building’s immediate Coe, which welcomed the first edition, in early 2017, Nitro Athletics, an appointment by teams comprising events like original relay in half-the bottom and on the hedges.