Sensible official passed baton - not the buck

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2012

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OPINION: The rules are the rules.

Just ask a certain Olympic official. He simply can not bend the rules to do something that makes sense or could add a nice touch to a spectacular moment.

I'm talking about the straight- faced official who refused to let Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, keep the baton he had just carried on the final leg of the 4x100m relay, won in world record time by a great Jamaica lineup.

Despite a chorus of boos from the 80,000 strong crowd at London's Olympic Stadium, the official would not budge.

"I have to have it back," the official repeated, before walking away with the baton, presumably to put it in its box, never to be used again.

The final action, on the final day at the track, was stunning theatre, and probably the best moment of the weekend, even over-riding New Zealand's late medal flurry.

Bolt, along with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake had just smashed the world record, with the 100m and 200m champion finally running out the distance at full throttle, something we had all hoped he would do before the Olympics ended.

It just made sense to let him keep the baton, and thankfully, someone with a bit of sense saw the growing embarrassment the incident could cause and gave it back to Bolt, eventually.

Sometimes you just have to break the rules.

Remember Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi? He's the Olympic 1500m champion who was chucked out after almost running backwards in the 800m to conserve himself for his favoured distance.

The fact he was chucked back in to the 1500m was the right decision, obviously, just as the decision to snatch Bolt's baton was the wrong one.

It was just so British, if you get my drift. But don't worry, I'm not about to start calling it Bolt's Baton-gate because I'm so over the cliche being used whenever a decent story breaks.

Case in point, the Val Adams saga that has taken the gloss off some of New Zealand's magnificent achievements at these Olympics.

While it is staggering the incompetency of some of our team officials, you have to draw a long bow to directly relate it to Adams claiming silver instead of winning gold, as many had predicted.

The simple fact was Adams was not in the zone that night in London and certainly not in good enough form to topple Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, who deserved gold.

Sometimes you just have to concede you are second for a reason - because you are second-best.

The Adams debacle did not ruin or even change the Olympics for me. Even if she had won, it would not have been one of the great Olympic highlights.

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No, Mahe Drysdale's magnificent effort at Eton Dorney was tops when it came to the Kiwis, especially after what he went through four years earlier.

Even Drysdale could not compete for the overall best moments of these Games, though.

Putting patriotism aside, and you really have to if you are honest, Kenya's David Rudisha's effort in the men's 800m final was simply stunning as he broke the world record in a performance that was so dominant, he probably turned off some of his opposition from ever competing again.

But even Rudisha is no match for Bolt. These Olympics were his Olympics.

- Taranaki

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