Just four years ago, I was here. Front row, 50 meter mark. I was an Olympic media volunteer, the closet I’d ever get to this den of almost-unworldly athletic finesse. The tickets for this night, free, grandiose gestures of the Beijing Olympic Committee’s appreciation for our very foreign faces. It was Chinese luck because my media credentials were sanctioned for another forte, tennis.
Before this night, across the Olympic grounds, I hadn’t just brushed shoulders with medal winners like Novak Djokovic. No, no, I had actually sprint-walked to touch (or grab, as it turned out to be) an extremity of aforementioned Novak. (Security, nonetheless, later scolded me, #unprofessional or was it them for allowing an overly joyous volunteer get so close?) I was just 20 and living the dream of jersey chasing and name droppin’.
At the press conference we later snuck into that night, Bolt sat unlike a newly minted world champion. Relaxed and cool in the small room of 30, he just smiled with evident reason. How could questions unnerve him? He confessed to one memorable thing though, McDonald’s McNuggets (two trips) and a nap, his only sustenance of that record day. McDonald’s can fuel a record-breaking 100? The real journalists scribbled furiously, I just sat nonplussed in my luck with a slender container of lip gloss poised like a pretend pen.
Are you watching the Olympics? Would you attempt to touch an Olympian? And the trickiest question, would you rather see the World Cup or the Olympic Games? Do tell.