Praise for King Rudisha, the track maestro who showed Kenya can shine
Posted Saturday, August 11 2012 at 19:30
David Rudisha. Sometimes the feats of a man defy description. What an athlete. His magnificent run on Thursday night was made all the more memorable by the seeming effortlessness of it all.
Usain Bolt is a great athlete. But because he is a sprinter you can see that he strains to clinch gold, his face contorted with the effort of beating his compatriots, until the very last seconds when he knows victory is secure.
Rudisha is different. His was the run of a man who knew he was competing against only himself and the clock. He ran with his back straight, his eyes only occasionally swinging left to check the time. His is a style more reminiscent of Michael Johnson, the great 400m world record holder who used to run both the full lap and the 200m with the calm poise of a man out for a morning jog.
And what joy to see the world’s press pile the superlatives on a young Kenyan after undoubtedly the performance of the Olympics. There is little more to say.
We will return to the subject of our hapless Olympics association and athletics officials. But for now, let’s revel in the wonder of Rudisha. Here are some excerpts from major media outlets on his performance. Thanks to reader Dickens Awiti, who sent in the translation from the Spanish press:
They say David Rudisha is “the greatest runner you’ve never heard of”. That is the line that has been rolled out by the headline writers at the BBC, Vanity Fair and others. You know him now.
Rudisha, the greatest 800m runner in history, broke his own world record at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday night … On and on he went, his long, muscular stride carrying him smoothly along the track.
Finally, as he kicked again around the final bend, it became clear that this was really happening, and the 80,000 (in the stadium) erupted into life.
- The Guardian (UK)
David Rudisha, the Bolt of the middle distance race, started off running 400 and 200 meters where he showed great speed until an Irish priest in Eldoret (Brother Colm O’Connell) told him about Peter Snell.
He would tell him how the New Zealander had won two Olympic gold medals, that 800 meters was his race, a race that blends stamina, tactical flair, the mastery of lactic acid, cruise speed and sprinting capacity.
He would also tell him that he was ordained for this going by some remote detail, Snell was also born on the 17th of December 1938. "Look David, what a coincidence! You were born on the 17th of December 1988, exactly 50 years later."
And half a dozen years after the Irish priest convinced him that he was an 800-meters runner, the trajectories of Snell, strong as a bull with the build of a rugby player, and David Rudisha, so agile and elegant, predestined by as many reasons, would converge in a magical instant one warm and bright evening in the Olympic track when the young Kenyan would become the second record world holder after Snell in Tokyo 1964 to win an Olympic gold medal in the two-lap race.
- El Pais, (Spain)
Rudisha was like the hare on a greyhound track. He did not run a tactical race. He knew he was in a different class to the rest of the field, because his season’s best time coming into the race was a full two seconds quicker than anything anyone else had managed.