Old men cry. The children sit in a chair and look at the world with their eyes, with the illusion of someone who is going to ride a spaceship, and already has their heads in the clouds, like the mountains, and Elaine Thompson, the queen of the night, without gold hairpiece or empress diadem, jet black hair, black as night, reigns over all and over the history of women and speed. He wins the 200m and says: “My name is already in the golden books of sports history.”
Three days after winning the 100m, the new goddess of speed prevails in the 200m with a mark, 21.53s, which is the second in history (just 19 hundredths behind the unattainable 21.34s of Florence Griffith in 1988 ). Thompson, 29, already an Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m at Rio 2016, is the first woman to win both sprint events in two Olympic Games. Something that Florence Griffith did not try to achieve, who retired just after winning both golds at the Seoul 88 Games and died in her sleep 10 years after her double triumph in Seoul.
Behind her comes an exhalation, a girl from Namibia born in 2003 and named Christine Mboma, who comes out of her heels with such little grace and takes so long to reach her cruising speed (her test is 400m, but the federation does not leave, because your body generates more testosterone than those who define the genders set as normal for a woman) that enters the line almost the last, far from the best. His first 100m have been 11.40s, 41 hundredths slower than Thompson’s, a bullet. Arrivals at 150m, Thompson’s difference has increased, it is already 44 hundredths (16.06s against 16.50s). Mboma is not discouraged. She has the gift of progressive acceleration, a turbo in her body, and she overtakes, overtakes, overtakes Shelly Ann Fraser (21.94s), who remains off the podium; She overtakes the best of the North Americans, the Houston neurobiologist Gabby Thomas, who remains a bronze (21.87s), a statue, and lacks meters to overtake Thompson, who wins it only by 28 hundredths. Mboma’s 21.81s are a new junior world record. His seconds 100m, 10.41s; those of Thompson, 10.54s, 16 hundredths slower.
Elaine Thompson reigns in Tokyo, but the teenagers refuse not to be the protagonists.
Athing Mu, 19, born in Trenton, New Jersey, a year after they arrived, refugees from South Sudan from an endless war of extermination, her parents and five older siblings, inherits the 800m throne that belonged to the Caster Semenya banned for nine years. It does so by beating the United States record with a mark (1m 55.21s, eleventh in history) that falls within the range of the usual for the South African, which the international federation does not let run because it considers that it has an unfair advantage over all the others for its high level of natural testosterone. Mu runs like Rudisha, so tall, slender, long, and powerful. A front runner with a change of pace in the lead in the 200m curve and faster in the second 400m (57.41s) than the first (57.41s), the sign of maximum excellence. Behind her comes Kelly Hodgkinson, born in 2002 like her, who, with 1m 55.88s, breaks the British record.
Everyone laughs and everyone talks about the track and the shoes, springs on springs, and the atmosphere of Tokyo, magical, and the unique talent and ambition of the generation Z, gifted young people, Mozarts of the sport, who are afraid of feeling old , that those who come faster put them aside. And there he comes pushing from Tampa, Florida, a boy born in 2004, just turned 17, named Erriyon Knighton, who started training as an athlete at 15 because his football coach wanted him to run very fast, and he runs so fast that He has already forgotten about football, he has broken the youth and junior world record of 200m (19.84s) held by Usain Bolt and has reached the 200m final. And the favorite, Noah Lyles, the great master of Dragon Ball, trembles, scared because also Andre de Grasse, the Canadian who always runs looking left, almost in profile, which gives him an advantage in the corner, seems to have shaken the slumber in which Italian Marcell Jacobs left him in the final of the 100m, and he comes out supersonic in his semi-final, in which he sets the best time of the eight that progress to the final, 19.73s.
Mondo Duplantis (6.02m), Swedish, is Olympic pole vault champion at age 21, a year and a half after breaking the world record (6.18m) held by the Frenchman from Clermont Ferrand Renaud Lavillenie, the man who he had taken it from Sergei Bubka.
Lavillenie reaches her last Olympic final with a crushed ankle. During warm-up, he can’t beat, can’t pick up speed, can’t even bend the pole, and falls before he even reaches the mat, standing on his sore ankle. Even so, he manages to jump 5.70m the first time. Then the pain overcomes him. Eliminated, half an hour later, the tears of bitterness drawing stains on his face, the 34-year-old Frenchman, Olympic champion in 2012, silver in Rio, is one more spectator of the space journey that his Swedish friend and student, Duplantis, wants to undertake. After five perfect jumps, not a single mistake, executed with a face of need and determination, he is already an Olympic champion, the title that does the most justice to his talent and his dominance.
Now he just wants, like Yulimar Rojas on Sunday, to leave his mark well etched in everyone’s memory and break his world record in the Olympic final. Choose the hardest of his poles, which he had already prepared for the moment. Look at the strip located 6.19m from the ground -something like a second-story window- as if it were the moon that you are going to reach in nothing, in 20 steps, grab the pole at 5.15 meters and quickly it nails into the box when it reaches a speed of 9.8 meters per second (35.2 kilometers per hour), bends it like rubber and is propelled several centimeters above the bar. The ascent has been perfect. The descent, defective. He brushes the ribbon with his chest as he falls and knocks it down. On the second attempt he fails to bend the pole. In the third he fell with his knee also falling. He doesn’t seem to care. He takes off his astronaut suit and goes back to being the boy who dreams. He jumps the barriers and ascends to the stands, where dad and more are, who hug him happily.
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