Usain Bolt is lightning fast, we all know that. So it was appropriate that as he crossed the line to win the 100 metres world title in Moscow on Saturday, a lightning bolt flashed simultaneously.
The fact that it was captured digitally by an AFP photographer, Oliver Morin, was marvellous for the snapper. It is a career-defining shot that immediately went viral and is already being hailed as an iconic sports image up there with the most memorable.
It is sure to rival Jackie Robinson entering the major leagues to break baseball’s race barrier, any number of Michael Jordan’s amazing action shots, swimmer Mark Spitz’s beaming face with seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Bob Beamon’s amazing leap almost out of the sand pit in 1968 when he smashed the long jump record, along with Pele being held aloft by his Brazilian teammates after winning the 1958 and 1970 World Cups. England’s Bobby Moore celebrating winning the 1966 World Cup is another classic. There are numerous iconic shots of Muhammad Ali too – particularly him gloating over Sonny Liston in their first fight – and Bolt’s lightning image ranks up there with all of these.
To his credit, Morin accepts only 1 per cent credit as it was taken with a remote camera routinely placed at the finish line. Nevertheless, he deserves props for its uniqueness, which will further heighten Bolt’s already legendary status.