By Roger Currie
Week 2 of Canada’s Golden Summer. If there’s one event that lends credence to the notion that the Pan Am Games do not include the best in the western hemisphere it would be the men’s sprint events, especially the 100 metres.
Twenty-year-old Canadian Andre De Grasse won gold in a close finish. His time was 10.05 seconds, not as fast as his time in the semi-final 90 minutes earlier. A notable disappointment was the fact that CBC television, the host broadcaster, did not carry the gold medal final live. You can bet they would have if the field included the elephant who’s not in the room at this year’s Pan Am.
His name is Usain Bolt. He’s from Jamaica, which means he should rightfully be competing in these games, but Usain is in a totally different league in terms of his speed, and what that is worth in his bank account. He is the undisputed fastest man alive, with a world record time of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres. No other human being has ever come close to that time.
As amazing as he is over 100 metres, the Jamaican is even better at 200, and in the relays. He did compete in the last year’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland, and chances are he would like to have run for his country in Canada, but the professional marketing machine that handles him won’t allow it. They don’t want Bolt to risk injury before the World Championships in Beijing later this year, or the Olympics in Rio next year.
Canada has had many highs and lows in pursuit of the title ‘world’s fastest man’ over the years. Perhaps the biggest heartache belonged to Saskatchewan-born Harry Jerome. He was Canada’s best hope at three Olympics in the 1960’s, but all he ended up with was a lone bronze medal.
I will not even talk about our national shame by the name of Ben Johnson.
Let’s be thankful for Andre De Grasse.
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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.