Outrunning the ghost …

Two weeks ago, it was supposed to be the big showdown at Osaka.

Tyson Gay vs Asaka Powell at the 100m sprint.

As it turned out, though – despite having run a world record 9.77 secs thrice, Powell had never won a world title and he didn’t then.

“When I saw I wasn’t in gold medal contention, I gave up. I just stopped running, I said to myself there was no coming back from this.” He said “I felt very free, very relaxed before the race. But when Tyson came on and gave me a little pressure, I just panicked.”


Two weeks, to the day, later, at Reiti in Italy, he broke smashed his previous world record in a (legal) wind aided, but pressure-free 9.74 secs.

Hidden there is probably a question that will forever haunt us. Who is better? Who is the real winner? Pure talent or sheer tenacity? Does pure talent, even if its in a superb, untainted athlete such as Asafa Powell, who has failed to rise to the occasion lose any value if its outdone at the big event by a marginally slower performer? Is talent that wilts under the scanner of pressure really any less?

Posted by Rahul


4 thoughts on “Outrunning the ghost …

  1. It’s clear who the faster runner is…. winning is a different matter all together… winning necessarily requires there to be a loser.

    This is probably why World Record’s are important – they have to be broken to be taken away…..

  2. I think its an interesting poser. But the answer becomes somewhat easy when the results are measurable – in areas such as track and field or those where “records” can be established. But what about other disciplines at sports ?

    Djokovic says Federer has that mental strength edge. Sampras and Borg had that little bit extra at the big points. Shane Warne says Sachin has that little extra mentally that seperates him. X is a big occassion player. Ronaldo was a big let down in the 2002 World Cup. Schumi was king at the big races….. Thats where its not just about records but about purely winning and about contributing to winning. What about there ?

  3. Well, as you mention Karthikeya, World records can be taken away but an Olympic gold can’t. Ask Powell if he would prefer an Olympic gold/ World championship to a world record.

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