The student whose pictures with Usain Bolt have lit up the internet is the one who really won gold

I thought of a joke here about Jady Duarte’s Bolt-In-My-Bed pictures spreading quicker than her ankles, but this would lead to me spending at least 72 hours fielding abuse from whining 19-year-old offendatrons claiming 'slut-shaming'

Grace Dent
Tuesday 23 August 2016 10:33 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Experimenting with Instagram’s new ‘Stories’ feature this weekend, it struck me that what my snoozy – and largely unwatched – output was possibly missing was some live, mid-rut footage of me underneath Usain Bolt. At my age, most of my experimenting with new media resembles a fractious panda trying to master Kerplunk, but my bid to make thrilling authentic, live, on-the-hoof content that will thrill Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Live or go viral after starting its journey in a WhatsApp group has been the most disheartening.

20-year-old Jady Duarte from Rio did not have this problem. While apparently in bed with Bolt this weekend, Duarte had the presence of mind to grab the phone and snap evidence of his naked torso on top of her, while she peered lustfully over his shoulder. Duarte pinged the evidence to her friends on WhatsApp, thirsty for attention – because clearly getting off with Bolt, who is both enormously handsome and had just won three Gold medals wasn’t enough – and was quickly furnished with more global attention than she could have ever dreamed of. She may be, apparently, “mortified” that pictures reached the wider world, but her photo set a ball in motion that is now out of anyone’s control.

Why we love Usain Bolt

We have said goodbye, it seems, to the sleepy kiss‘n’tell era. Now we’re kissing and telling simultaneously. As slaves to creating authentic footage and traffic, it seems now we can’t even orgasm without worrying which WhatsApp group to send the mid-grunt snap. Random friends, bitchy gossip inner circle or book group? Will a Juno filter bring out the pigments on the backs of my ankles? And do my pupils look more dilated in X-Pro II or Hefe?

I thought of a joke here about Jady Duarte’s Bolt-In-My-Bed pictures spreading quicker than her ankles, but this would lead to me spending at least 72 hours fielding abuse from whining 19-year-old offendatrons claiming “slut-shaming”. And I feel quite the opposite. I’m not shaming Usain Bolt either, for that matter. I’m sure his reported girlfriend of two years Kasi Bennett will avail him of the requisite amount of moral-focused ear drubbing when he lands in Jamaica later this week. Jady Duarte is the epitome of the modern, emancipated, forward-thinking woman.

In a world where attention is everything, Duarte has won jackpot. Her WhatsApp update has led to her “content” gaining umpteen million viewers. She’ll be a shoo-in for lucrative, self-effacing cystitis powder brand tie-ins and the Celebrity Big Brother 2017 shortlist. My generation of 90s women went out of their way to look like they didn’t shag someone. We lied and fibbed and fudged matters. “Oh, he stayed as he missed the last bus, but he slept on the couch,” we said, our noses lengthening. Or, “No we didn’t get a taxi home together. Who said that? I went home alone!” Or: “We slept top and tail, like friends!” My generation stares at these young guilt-free millennials, documenting their shags on social media, with a slightly envious bewilderment.

And meanwhile, my tedious Instagram story about my Sunday dinner drew a meagre 2,600 viewers in 24 hours. In millennial terms I may as well be dead. Or, at the very least, look into the possibility of adding some sex to my next broadcast. Some light fingering with Eddy “The Eagle” Edwards? Heavy petting with Steve Cram?

On my favourite podcast Reply All – an American sideways look at the internet – two American MTV News online writers, Maeve Kierans and Erika Harwood, were recently heard discussing the British YouTube presence Marina Joyce who had amassed a hefty avid audience with her prolific updates of banal babbling. “She had a sizeable-ish following,” Maeve explained in blasé tones. “600,000 subscribers… which is more than I have, but isn’t that impressive. Two million is like, sure you did a good job, we’ll pay attention.”

Thankfully Joyce’s recent increasingly bizarre YouTube output, which led some viewers to believe she’d been kidnapped by Isis, has seen her leap to the at least respectable 2,170,985 subscriber mark. More people now watch Joyce than the ITV News at Ten. Joyce must be thrilled, although probably less so the Enfield Police who visited her house at 3.30am to investigate reports that Caliphate supporters had Joyce held against her will and were forcing her to pirouette in a pink nightie wearing glittery eye-shadow.

On reflection I am wearing far too many clothes and being far too coherent in my social media output. I’m not even in the running for adoration. Duarte and Joyce, on the other hand, have won gold.

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