Friday 20 September 2019

A shining star that's worth staying up for

Weird Wide World of Sport

A beaming Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the 100 metres final
A beaming Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the 100 metres final

Dave Devereux

I'm sitting here penning my column in my Y-fronts this week.

There's none of this cheating business though. Unlike Gary Lineker on Match of the Day with his gigantic shorts, there's no half measures for me (or maybe there is, if you know what I mean) and I'm wearing proper budgie smugglers.

Thankfully for my own modesty and for the preservation of the lining of everybody else's stomach there's no one else here to see this ghastly sight, bar the occasional blackbird or butterfly that unwittingly flits past the window.

Why the skimpy attire you may ask? It's my self-inflicted forfeit for predicting that Leicester City were destined for the dreaded drop last season. As long as the under garments don't head south we'll be alright!

Of course it would have been a far funnier scenario had an Irish sports presenter had to suffer the same fate as Lineker. Can you imagine one of the boyos from The Sunday Game having to come good on the same promise?

Much like myself you'd see a body paler than a delivery from Ernie the Fastest Milkman in the West and probably a hint of a paunch to boot. Lineker, on the other hand, spent so much time in the sun and in tanning booths that if he had chosen orange from his bottom drawer, rather than white. you'd have been forgiven for thinking he hadn't a stitch on him.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings about jocks and tanning, we'll leave that to more suitable publications like Elle, Vogue and the like. Although in my defence I can be forgiven for going off course like a disorientated Olympic sailor, with the lack of a good's night sleep going some way to vindicating my slightly off-kilter thought process.

The reason for being up until the wee hours wasn't a manic night out on the sauce trying to recapture my long-lost youth, but rather something that's more in keeping with my line of work - none other than the one and only Usain Bolt.

There's not many sportsmen that would keep me up past half two in the morning on a Sunday, particularly for an event that's over in the blink of an eye, but the Jamaican legend is certainly one of them.

After filing a few match reports I was ready to plant myself in front of the television shortly after midnight as the clock ticked down to the moment the greatest athlete would light up the so-called greatest show on earth.

There were a couple of unexpected treats to keep me entertained before the big one.

Firstly I saw Andy Murray retaining his Olympic crown in an emotional and energy-sapping battle with Juan Martin del Potro.

There was more panting going on than at a weekend at Crufts and more tears expelled than if you were forced to watch the heartbreaking ending of The Champ on a loop - 'Champ, wake up, wake up, wake up'.

I could have sworn that's what the missus shouted at me this morning as I struggled to remove myself from under the snugness of the duvet. Or was it chump that she bellowed?

I flicked over to BBC4 for a few moments to watch reigning champions Germany make the most remarkable comeback since Lazarus, when they scored three goals in the last four minutes and the winner with the last stroke of the game, to beat New Zealand in the men's hockey quarter-final.

Back to the athletics, and South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk did all he could to upstage Bolt on his big night by winning gold and beating Michael Johnson's 17-year-old world record, and even more remarkably from lane eight.

With Bolt soon to go out on top, van Niekerk could well take over the Jamaican's mantle as the world star of athletics, but records or not, Usain is still the main man in the here and now.

The roar of approval from the crowd as Bolt breasted the tape to become the first athlete to win three Olympic 100 metre titles said it all, and as usual he took it all in his gigantic stride with an infectious smile on his face.

Bolt certainly wasn't pants and as he has done time and time again during his career he lived up to the star billing. Now excuse me while I slip off for forty winks.

Wexford People