U.S.A. – IN BOLT – CHINESE MUSTARD PHENOMENON

John Smith called me today. He has been back in the country for a little over a week after overseeing Carmelita Jeter’s two 100 meter races under 10.70 in Thessaloniki, Greece at the IAAF World Final, and backed it up with another sub 10.70 in the Orient.
John, congratulations man on a great job you two did.
Thanks. She really listens and executes the race strategy. Plus,.. she is not afraid of anyone. She brings her lunch pail everyday.
What kind of feedback have you been getting as a result of her two fabulous races ?
Well there are a lot more people interested in coming out here to train with us. I can not break the confidentiality of where we are right now, but there are some pretty big names in play.
So you are the flavor of the year ?
Man, you know how that goes ! Look, last year I came back from Europe early because I did not have anyone. This year I was there right up the very last race. I like the second scenario much better than the first. If that means more people want to get the benefit of what we are doing,…I’m not mad at them.
Where is all of this going with the times in the sprints do you think ?
Look man,… right after the  10.68 in Greece I told Carmelita to get her mind ready for 10.50 . We are not through with all this.
That is good news for you guys, but bad news for the rest of the world..
You know how it is in this sport, once the ice has been broken the times drop until another crust forms and holds everything up.
We have seen it happen so many times over the years. Don’t stop now !!!
At the World Championships in Berlin, each day John Smith, Jon Drummond, Bobby Kersee, and I at various times would individually or collectively lounge on the pole vault pit in the warm-up area, and follow the activity in the stadium on the big screen monitor. It was very interesting, even intriguing, to see coaches from other countries gravitate to the same pole vault pit in order to be close to American coaches and pick up what was being said. It is normal  to enjoy more respect and regard away from home than you generally get at home, but there is more to it than that. American black coaches get much greater respect and regard in Europe and elsewhere than they can ever hope to get in America, but that is another topic for another day, but I could not resist the urge to point it out.
During one of these informal gatherings on the pole vault pit the head coach from Kenya said to me,
U-S-A IN  Bolt .
What ?
U-S-A IN Bolt !!
You missed me with that. What are you saying ?
Sir, please, if you spell Usain Bolt like this,….U-S-A IN Bolt you get a very clear picture.
You get a very clear picture of what ?
Usain Bolt’s success comes from America.
What !!!!! Usain is coached by a Jamaican, he trains in Jamaica and is part of the new trend for Jamaican sprinters to stay in Jamaica.
Yes,…but he ran the same time at the Olympics as Tyson Gay achieved at your Olympic Trials ! Tyson Gay opened the door for Bolt to sprint through !!!! See, U.S.A. IN Bolt.
My first reaction was to correct him and remind that there was a hundreth of a second difference between their times ( 9.68 to 9.69 ) and Bolt ran his time wind legal while Tyson ran his time wind aided. On the other hand I agreed with the general point I thought  he was trying to make. My response was ,
Yeah, like Chinese mustard.
Yes, you mean because he ran the time in China ?
No.
What, sir, please is the connection ? Are you making humor at my expense ?
No. I am not making fun of you. Have you ever had Chinese mustard ?
You mean the very hot spice they serve with spring rolls ?
Yes, that is what I mean.
I once had some of that thing and it brought tears to my eyes and burned my nasal passages.
Exactly, it brought tears to your eyes and opened up your nasal passages. This allowed for a better flow of air through your nasal area. What Tyson did for Bolt is just that. By running that time he opened up the nasal passages of sprinting  for others to better flow and follow. Now Bolt also had help from his countryman, Asafa Powell, and also Maurice Greene, but I get the concept because I subscribe to the very same notion that once pandora’s box of performance is opened, then all sorts of performance butterflies escape and rush to the surface.
So U-S-A IN Bolt is correct ?
Yeah, between you and me it is correct. I am not sure how Jamaicans see it, but between us two, I think your analysis is correct. The question that really interests and intrigues me is just how far and wide this whole Chinese mustard phenomenon will spread as it applies to other events and the artificial barriers we have accepted all this time.
Right sir, it is still uncertain where it will all end.
Uncertainty is what makes the world go around. There is no such thing as absolute certainty.
You sound very sure of yourself, sir.
Yeah, I am absolu……err I mean I am sure. In the mean time, you need to look out for the mustard.
I most certainly shall, sir.
Brooks T. Johnson
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