By James Bakama
USAIN Bolt is the biggest thing in athletics today not only because he is the fastest man, but also because of his appeal on and off the track.
Bolt is a showman. He attracts attention wherever he is. His now world famous pose of a bolt of thunder has now become the signature of every major athletics competition.
In Moscow, you could actually easily assume that the world championships were all about Bolt.
His picture dominated posters advertising the competition. But by the end of the competition, two men had raced closer to Bolt in popularity.
Stephen Kiprotich and Britain’s Mo Farah are a hit when it comes to engaging the crowds.
Bolt dances, Kiprotich dances
Where Bolt dances, Kiprotich also dances. And when Bolt salutes, Kiprotich waves.
Farah on the other hand connects with the crowds with his sign of folded hands onto the head.
The Briton was signaling to the big crowd in Luzhniki stadium after easily striding to his double 5000 and 10000meters victory.
Kiprotich cut an even calmer picture at the start of the marathon.
Both Bolt and Kiprotich are playful
He was playful as he joked with visibly tense competitors before the start of his race.
Kiprotich waves, Bolt salutes
Then as he led the field out of the stadium, he confidently waved to the crowds as if already aware that victory would, two hours 09.51 minutes later, be his.
His confidence on the home stretch can also probably only be compared to that of the Jamaican and the Briton.
He was again waving to the crowds well before finishing. And when he finally crossed the finishing line, he crowned it all with a dance.
You could tell the impact he left on not only Muscovites, but also other visiting teams. People lined up not only for autographs, but also photo opportunities.
Just like Bolt, Kiprotich is a journalists’ dream
As for the media, Kiprotich was every journalist’s dream. No wonder all the big media houses wanted an interview with him.
Journalists in the mixed zone waited for close to an hour before having their share of Kiprotich.
The Ugandan had to first complete several interviews in another section of the stadium.
“I love the attitude of your champion. He is always ready to give an interview,” noted a Jamaican writer. Bolt and Farah are no different.
All three make it look so easy
But may be the best similarity in the Bolt-Farah-Kiprotich combination is in their finish. All the three gallop to the finish with so much ease and confidence.
So, if Kiprotich can match Bolt and Farah on many fronts, isn’t it also time the Ugandan’s endorsement and sponsorship pay cheques also came closer to the Jamaican and Briton’s pay.