NPR logo The Agony Of The D.Q.

The Agony Of The D.Q.

Usain Bolt wins the 200m. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

By the time I got home last night, I already knew Usain Bolt, Jamaican track phenom, had broken Michael Johnson's record in the 200-meter and earned the gold medal. It was a little disappointing to know the outcome before watching the race, but I still leaned forward in my seat when the runners assumed the position in the Wednesday night telecast. Somehow, knowing Bolt would win didn't affect my enjoyment in the least — watching that man run, and buckle down and run the whole race (unlike the 100-meter, when he practically danced to the finish, so far ahead of the field he could've bunny-hopped), was witnessing history*. And his buddy, American Wallace Spearmon, came in third! Just as Spearmon, wrapped in the American flag, grabbed Bolt, wrapped in green and gold, for a bear hug, the news spread around the stadium: Spearmon had stepped on the line. Disqualified. The post-DQ interview with Spearmon was one of the most awkward things I've seen in my life. And then, on the replay, it became clear 2nd-place-finisher Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles had run a similarly tainted 200, and suddenly 2 more Americans, who originally ran in 4th and 5th, earned medals. Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix took silver and bronze, respectively, but there was no triumphant flag-wrapped victory lap around the track for them. In fact, when Dix's agent ran up to him with a smile and a hug after learning of his medal, Dix, nonplussed, stated simply, "I still lost." Ugh. What an awful way to finish a race that started with so much promise.

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*In case you missed it, it'll go down in Olympic and sports history as the race where Usain Bolt broke Carl Lewis's record of winning the 100 and 200 in one Olympics, and broke both world records at the same time, which has never been done before.