Bolt puts the writing on wall for long jump world record

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The Independent Online

It was the best of times; it was the wurst of times. OK, so the German cuisine has been nothing about which to write home, but the fare served up over the nine days of the World Championships here has been something to truly savour.

The best of the times were still being digested as the final curtain fell with the closing ceremony yesterday evening: 9.58sec for 100m, 19.19sec for 200m.

Having knocked lumps out of his own world records, Usain Bolt was collecting a great chunk of the Berlin Wall yesterday to take with him to Trelawny Parish as a reminder of the barriers he bulldozed on the bright blue Olympiastadion track.

It weighed 2.7 tonnes and was decorated with an image of the Jamaican speeding to his 100m record last Sunday. "It's really big," Bolt said. "I don't know how I'm going to get it home. But it's an honour."

Bolt was being honoured all over town yesterday, it seemed. He was back at the Olympiastadion for the start of the final session to collect his third gold medal, having run the third leg for the victorious Jamaican 4x100m relay team on Saturday evening. He was also on the east side of town at a hotel in Alexanderplatz as the chief guest at a Jamaican Tourist Board function at which it was announced that the Caribbean island's entry for the Round the World Clipper Race is to be called Lightning Bolt.

The Lightning Bolt himself was talking about plans of his own for the future. He spoke of getting to grips with the 400m, possibly in time for the London Olympics of 2012. "If my coach says, 'Let's try something new,' I'll definitely try to put my heart into it," he said. More intriguingly, Bolt revealed that he has future plans to take his speed on to the long jump runway.

"I've told my coach I'd love to try the long jump," he said. "I definitely hope to do this before I retire because I think I'd be very good at it." Mike Powell happens to be of the same opinion too.

He is the American who broke Bob Beamon's 1968 quantum leap 8.90m world record with an 8.95m long jump at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. Powell reckons Bolt could be the man to eclipse his 18-year-old global mark. "I can show him how to jump 9 metres, for a small fee," he said. "With his height and speed, he is the type who would scare me at the long jump.

"We are dealing with a freak-of-nature athlete. He is off the charts. He goes to another level. His pure athleticism is unbearable. He is destroying other athletes, making them look like kids. He is at a level no one has ever been."

He is that. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations' Scoring Tables, devised to compare performances across the spectrum of events, Bolt's 100m world record, 9.58sec, is the most meritorious track and field performance of all time. It equates to a long jump of 9.17m.

For the time being, though, Bolt is happy to bask in the golden glow of what he has accomplished on the track in Berlin. And to celebrate with his parents, Wellesley and Jennifer, who were introduced to the audience at the Jamaican Tourist Board function.

"They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice," Olivia Grange, Jamaica's Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, remarked. "When the Bolts got together lightning only struck once... and we got Usain Bolt."