Why We Loved The Rio Olympics: Another Jolt From Usain Bolt

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Usain St. Leo Bolt has beaten the best and he’s ravished the rest. He’s conquered his counterparts at every turn. And this is only part of his allure.

Usain Bolt won the 100m dash. Then he won the 200m dash. And THEN he crowned these Olympics off and capped the Games of XXXI Olympiad with a crowning, royal diadem of a 4 x 100m dash performance for the ages. Just as we love to watch a deer run through the woods and watch a cheetah race across the plain, so we love to watch Usain bolt down the track.

So what is Bolt’s mystery ingredient? What is Bolt’s secret weapon? Wha does Usain have that the other sprinters lack? (Not counting his extraordinary height, or course.)  First and foremost, Usain Bolt is supremely confident.  Usain’s almost insane confidence is not just in himself, per se; his confidence  lies rooted and grounded in his uncanny ability to transcend the circumstances, whatever they may be, to achieve gold.

Bolt is a believer. He’s a man of faith. But he’s also a man full of fundamentals. He just doesn’t believe or hope or dream; he works hard. He trains hard. He practices long and he strives for perfection.  And he’s sustained this streak of dominance and eminence over time, so he’s no flash in the pan.

Bolt is a boyish “Bella.” His speed and his strength and his gold medals are only icing on the cake. It’s his charm and his charisma, and most of all, his confidence, that are the soul of this human machine, and this surefire assurance is what we love and admire about him the most.

Usain Bolt: Pride of Jamaica

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A hero is someone who helps without expecting anything in return. Their gesture may be big or small; but profound or not, it doesn’t make him any less of a hero. Does this define Usain Bolt? In the minds and hearts of boys and girls and men and women the world over, Usain’s winning and bolting and dapping may not match the traditional meaning of the term, but its close enough.

Usain Bolt just won the men’s 100 m dash for the third straight Olympics. He defeated his arch-rival Justin Gatlin and the rest of the field to win gold in “just” 9.80 seconds. And his dominance in the sport spans past the Olympics, as he set a new World Record of 9.58 in 2009.

Usain has bolted to super stardom as he has led his tiny island nation of Jamaica to world track and field dominance. So he’s more than a hero; he’s conquered oh, so many hearts and he is the shining star of a nation.

Usain has unusual height for a sprinter and unmatched stamina parallel to none. His speed and his strength have earned him the title “World’s Fastest Man” for almost a decade. And his charisma and charm and magnetism and near hypnotism all combine for a compelling story that is worth telling time and again.

How To Hit a Home Run

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Everyone wants to hit a home run. Everyone wants to hit it out of the park and over the fence and further and higher than everyone else. And everyone wants to have everyone cheer for them. It’s part of our DNA. No one wants to strike out and leave runners stranded on base. No one. But the question is, “how do you hit a home run?” or more importantly, “how do you consistently hit home runs?” A simple web search produced this answer:

“I would say the main factors that go into hitting distance are:


A) Batter’s Strength

When the ball hits the bat, the force is applied the opposite direction of the swing, trying to push the bat backwards. A stronger batter can apply more forward force and resist the ball’s force.

B) Pitch Velocity

The faster the pitch, the farther it will soar. This is because the ball picks up kinetic energy, which is then used when sending it over the fence. You will sometimes see contests where fans are chosen to try to hit a homerun off a tee for a car or some big prize- in reality, almost all of the players wouldn’t be able to because there is no kinetic energy to add to the hit that the pitch provides.

C) Bat Speed

Kind of takes a back seat to the batter’s strength, because obviously if you’re stronger you’ll be able to swing faster- however certain technique can help improve bat speed

D) Connection (hitting the ball at the right angle and on the optimal spot “sweet spot” on the bat).”

So, what is the spiritual tie in?  How to you translate this sports analogy to life?

Batter’s strength is number one.  You first have to be strong enough.  And strength comes through endurance and perseverance and patience and tolerance. It doesn’t come overnight but time is not the answer either.

Strength comes through training and practice and preparation and correct application. It’s not that simple, but then again, it’s really a factor of willpower and backbone and drive and determination.  It’s about overcoming and obstacles and sticking to it and hanging in there and going the distance.

“Dealing with and overcoming setbacks and stumbling blocks is what builds your character and ability to grow. Remember, don’t take things personally. People do things to other people because it makes them feel better. They try to get you to feel as bad as they do about themselves. You need to be careful with emotions. They can be a very negative force in your life that can direct you on paths better not travelled. We all experience bad things from other people. It’s how and what we do with those experiences that define who we ultimately become.”

Pitch Velocity is number 2. In other words, the harder and faster the ball or “the situation” comes at you, the higher the chance of you hitting it farther. In other words, if we want to hit home runs, we should get excited when it’s hard and it’s difficult and it’s challenging. Because the darker the night, and the fiercer the fight, the sweeter the victory.

Bat speed and Connection are factors of practice, practice, practice. “Practice? We talkin’ bout practice?”  (Where is Allen Iverson when you need him?)

So, as you watch this year’s Home Run Derby (note that you’re watching, not me, because it’s just not my cup of tea), let’s remember one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October.” In the 1977 World Series, Reggie hit three home runs in Game Six against the Dodgers on three consecutive at bats. Not too shabby.

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So, here’s to the home runs in life that you and I will hit.