Archiman Bhaduri for CaribDirect

Staff Writer – Archi

In sports news, lighting lit up the Moscow sky under heavy rains Usain Bolt regained his 100m world title on Sunday night.

In the process the big Jamaican took on the role of a fireman, extinguishing flames that have threatened to consume the sport.

Bolt’s recapture of his 100m title will drive into the background, for the moment at least, the doping scandal surrounding closest rival, and the second fastest man of all time, American Tyson Gay as well as Bolt’s close friend Asafa Powell.

However, it is not the first time the 26-year-old superstar has come to athletics’ rescue.

His record-breaking exploits at the Beijing Olympics, which saw him win three gold medals and break the 100m world record, served to divert attention away from the drug scandal involving the sport’s one-time poster girl Marion Jones and her ex-boyfriend and former 100m world record-holder Tim Montgomery.

He also restored luster to the title of Olympic 100m champion when predecessor Justin Gatlin was unable to defend his title as he was serving an initial eight-year doping ban.

Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin. Photo courtesy www.gulf-times.com

Those two worlds — the good and the bad — collided once more on Sunday as Bolt overcame 31-year-old Gatlin, who returned to competition when his ban ended in 2010, to take the gold.

However, while the battle against doping and the seemingly endless sequence of positive tests will go on, there is only a finite time left for Bolt to keep the sport on the front pages for the right reasons.

Bolt also has the common touch with the spectators, understanding that as well as competing in a sport it is also important to provide entertainment for the crowd.

And unlike other entertainers from the sporting world, who fall short when it comes to delivering titles, Bolt has an incredible ability to be able to play to the crowd before a final, and then focus on his race and blitz the field.

He did not let them down on Sunday too.

He mimed putting up an umbrella with heavy rain falling — and appropriately lightning bolts lit up the sky around the stadium — and stood there, Charlie Chaplin-esque waiting to be called to the blocks.

He had them eating out of his hand and with the noise rising to levels where it would be difficult to hear the starter he raised his finger to his lips and the crowd went silent.

Modestly, but safely, out of the blocks, Bolt’s head and shoulders remained low as he drove into the opening metres.

While his reaction time might have been slower than all but one other in the field, he soon reeled in the opposition. Come the 50-metre mark and Bolt pushed his huge frame through his renowned transition phase, head coming up and long legs pumping, teeth gritted and eyes on the big screen beyond the finish line.

Usain Bolt in Russia

Usain seemed to enjoy the rain in Russia. Photo courtesy of www.ctvnews.ca

It was surely not one of his best races, but it was still good enough for the gold as the Jamaican clocked a season’s best 9.77 seconds.

Bolt has made it clear why he feels obliged to give something back to the spectators.

“This is what I do. I’ve said it,” he said. “A lot of people come out to see what I’m going to do today, tomorrow and it’s fun for them. I enjoy showing them and giving them the joy I get out of doing this because they give me the energy to do it so I’m always hungry.”

The athletics authorities and the spectators will hope that his hunger is not sated any time soon for then there might be no-one around to fill his enormous shoes and save the sport.