Did you watch Usain Bolt’s historic Olympic race? I was looking forward to his performance – in all possible ways! – and he delivered, again.
He didn’t just deliver, he outperformed everyone else by a big margin in what was the greatest line-up for a 100m finale. How can he sustain such performance for so many years already and still improve so much?
Did you listen to what he said in his first interview seconds after the race?
High Performance: Bolt steals the show
Unhappy with his start, worse than all others
Bold knew it immediately and he made no secrets about it. He enjoyed the win and celebrated of course but his first thought in the interview was on what he didn’t do well. He compared his race to his previous worse performance (when he got disqualified with false-starts at the World Championship) and described his “slow” start in this race.
He knows exactly what else it will take to make another leap into the records: his past records improvements in 2009 were not trivial at nearly 1.64% faster, he clocked a world record 9.69 seconds at the 2008 Beijing Games followed by another world record 19.30 seconds in the 200, breaking a mark set by Michael Johnson in 1996 that statisticians had predicted would last at least 25 years!
And he is so clear about the targets to challenge, he would not accept the “Fastest Sprinter Legend” title until he achieves the 200m win this week and he also announced his targets for 2016 in Rio.
This is a very powerful approach to create higher performance: He found what wasn’t good in his performance from the “worse” amongst the line-up. That will make him unhappy and challenge him to fuel his next breakthrough records.
Fatal mistake: incremental performance is never enough
Compare Bolt’s behaviour versus Gatlin’s comments after the race, so revealing on mindsets to performance:
“Usain Bolt has the best technique out there. I tried to hold on with my technique”
He compared himself to the best and tried to find incremental performance improvements to match or maybe beat Bolt. What’s the result? A podium some 10 years after his first successes and several mistakes.
Bolt is not satisfied yet and that’s what drives him to make changes, to work on his technique; that’s what gives him the energy to question himself ; maybe even beat another record this thursday?