Bolt right up there with Jordan, Ali
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
Jamaica's Usain Bolt gives a thumbs-up as he celebrates winning the men's 200m final at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 9, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
LONDON - For decades, the phrase has held up as the defining declaration of his career. When you hear “I am the greatest,” you think of the handiwork of boxer Muhammad Ali.
Whether he meant it or not, Usain Bolt wants to change that perception after repeated references on Thursday to being “a legend” and the “greatest to live.”
Where exactly he fits among the greatest athletes of all time will never have a definitive answer, but the concept certainly sparks some interest.
After his victory in the 200-metre final, Bolt was asked if he would put himself in the same category as Ali, basketball’s Michael Jordan and soccer’s Pele.
After a stutter step towards humility, Bolt seemed quite comfortable with including himself with that group.
“I can’t say if I’m the status of Michael or Ali,” Bolt began. “Them being the greatest in their sports and me being the greatest in mine, I’m guessing I’m in that category.
“But I’ll leave it up to you.”
Of course, minutes earlier, Bolt had said, in one of many variations of the same: “Tonight I made myself a legend.”
In Canada, we’ll certainly throw Wayne Gretzky into the debate and countries around the world will do the same. Michael Jordan is right up there and yes, so is Pele. Some would argue that contemporaries belong as well: Michael Phelps, anyone?
The more Bolt was asked about his place in fame, the more out there the move to place him on a pedestal became.
Where would you fit in with the Manchester United attack, Bolt was asked by a Brit reporter.
“I’d be a great winger,” Bolt said and the packed press conference room erupted in laughter.
For now, let’s just count him as the undisputed sprinting champion of the world and wait a while before we build a statue alongside Jordan, Ali and company.