Usain Bolt more exciting than Michael Phelps in Olympics like Sergio Garcia is more exciting than Padraig Harrington in golf
Sure, Michael Phelps won the most gold medals, set all the records and turned an already bitter Mark Spitz into a near Bobby Fisher-like figure. But Usain Bolt is the most exciting athlete at the Olympics.
Watching the Jamaican Bolt completely blow away the field in the 100 meters, so much so that he could slow down to celebrate in a race that takes little more than nine seconds, blew away anything Phelps did in the water in terms of pure thrills. You’d have to be one of those rubes that NBC depends on (and programs for) who thinks the only thing that counts is what American athletes do to believe otherwise. Tonight, everyone gets another chance to see Bolt again in the 200 meters - and while there will not be people in Michigan sitting around bars, cheering for it, like there was with Phelps, it’s a better true sports show.
In fact, I’d say that if Bolt can match this double track and field win last achieved by Carl Lewis, you could reasonably argue that it’s almost a more impressive feat than Phelps’ eight golds. After all, Carl Lewis was a much better Olympian than Mark Spitz and in swimming it’s much, much easier to win multiple events. Still because Phelps broke Spitz’s record rather than just tying it, he still betters Bolt in achievement.
But I’d rather watch Usain Bolt race any day. He’s the more exciting, compelling competitor.
You see this in golf, too. Padraig Harrington is a much better golfer than Sergio Garcia. Of this there is no doubt. The gap’s even wider between Harrington and Garcia than Phelps and Bolt. Harrington’s the second best golfer in the world, no question - no matter what the world rankings and Phil Mickelson’s Crown Plaza commercials say. Harrington should win PGA Tour Player of the Year easily (he won’t be anything close to a big runaway winner with all this Tiger talk, but he should be).
But who would you rather watch? Who would you rather follow around a golf course? Harrington or Sergio? It’s the Spaniard in a wipeout. Sergio is one of those characters in sports that’s almost impossible not to be fascinated by. Like Usain Bolt.
Speaking of Sergio, today in the pro-am for the first PGA Tour FedEx Cup event he’ll be making his first public appearance back on a golf course since his devastating PGA Championship loss - and WorldGolf.com will be there. Look for full stories from the Barclays starting Thursday morning on the front of WorldGolf.com and check out this blog later today for live reports as the PGA Tour tries to build interest in a playoff system that’s only about the eighth most important golf event of the year.
As for Harrington. He already showed up in New Jersey. And nobody really cared that much. He’s not a Sergio. Or a Usain Bolt.
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1). Track & field's much more of a real sport than swimming.
2). It's much, much, much easier to win multiple events in swimming.
3). Bolt's blow-out win in the 100 was a pure sports jolt, whereas Phelps' wins wouldn't have caused anyone to raise an eyebrow without the Olympic hype context.
A guy blowing away everyone else in a sprint is something that would get your attention anywhere.
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