Sport on TV: Bolt from the blue turns out to be rather run-of-the-mill

It was hard to say who was looking more shifty, Jonathan Edwards or Justin Gatlin. On Athletics: Diamond League – Rome (BBC3, Thursday) the former kept looking over the shoulder of his fellow presenter Colin Jackson as if he was looking for someone more interesting to talk to at a party. The former triple-jumper was stationed at the side of the track trying to attract the attention of Gatlin, who could be regarded as a supreme party-pooper, having just beaten the mighty Usain Bolt in the 100 metres.

"I'm not a fan of Gatlin," moaned Steve Cram from the safety of the commentary box, and indeed Gatlin's previous drug use does not endear him to many in the way that Bolt does. Gatlin proved elusive, though to be fair even a former professional athlete like Edwards will struggle to catch up with a sprinter for an interview – especially one who has taken performance-enhancing drugs in the past.

It could be that Gatlin was feeling a little paranoid because of all the Italian athletes wearing vests bearing the word Polizia. But it was actually Bolt who seemed to be the most confused. He told Jackson: "My legs didn't feel like my legs", which is the sort of thing a Jamaican rastafarian might say after his fourth or fifth bong pipe.

Bolt seemed sluggish in the "drive phase" after an unusually fast start and it was as if, like another beaten champion that night in Allyson Felix, he had been trying to run in a pair of fluffy pink moon boots. Everyone knows that those are no good for your feet.

Meanwhile Edwards was still fidgeting. Presumably that's why he was so good at the triple jump, which is the ultimate activity for those of a nervous disposition with plenty of energy to burn. Edwards's wandering eyes were understandable to a degree since Jackson was not at his most incisive as the pair chatted by the trackside barrier like a couple of old women gossiping over the garden fence. "Again, it's a little bit cooler since the sun's gone down in Rome," declared the former hurdler. That's "again", presumably, as in the same as yesterday, the day before or indeed any sunny day ever. Uncanny.

They kept chatting about the 100m even while commentating on other events, sometimes in the same sentence. The level of adulation accorded Bolt was like the flattery bandied about the court of the Sun King or Stalin's inner circle. Even after he lost, Edwards said: "It's an odd thing to say but it feels like it doesn't matter that he lost." So after all that, none of it really meant anything at all.

At least the completion of the race meant we didn't have to watch the "Boltdown" countdown clock ticking in the corner of the screen. It made for uncomfortable viewing, like a ticking bomb. For the shortest sporting event in the world, it was a very long, slow build-up. So it was a shame that the bombshell of Bolt being beaten wasn't the earth-shattering event we thought it was.

* Après le déluge, a bucketful of praise for ITV's Tennis: French Open coverage, with John Inverdale, Jim Courier and Co having to perform the kind of conversational acrobatics normally reserved for Test Match Special as the rain poured down in Paris.

If time seemed to be passing slowly as the heavens opened, it was almost worse during the actual matches, given the excessive use of slow-motion camera shots. It was like watching astronauts floating around the court.

Such was the screeching during Maria Sharapova's semi-final against Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, it was as if there had been an invasion of extra-terrestrials as well as wet weather. But at least in super slo-mo, as with the film Alien, it was a case of "In space no one can hear you scream".

A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEpic YouTube video features boundary-pushing staging of a playground gun massacre
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star