Every four years, American sports fans are wowed by the speed of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. Then many of these same fans immediately think: “OMG. I wonder what he could do on a football field!”
Probably not much, because Bolt has never played football, has never been hit, and probably can’t catch very well. That said, why are we limiting Bolt’s future to football?
There are many other sports in which he theoretically could succeed.
Long jump: Can he jump long? Who knows. Carl Lewis was a great sprinter and did pretty well in the long jump. When you run a 9.63 in the 100 meters, the long jump isn’t too hard. You just sprint to the line and lift up your legs. Physics takes over from there. Watch a plane take off sometime.
Marathon: With a 9.63 pace in 100 meters, Bolt would run a marathon in about an hour. That time would blow the world record out of the water. What’s that, you say? He couldn’t keep that pace up for 26.2 miles? Fine. Even if he just coasted half-speed, he’d still do quite well.
Swimming: What’s swimming if not running in the water? In both running and swimming, you succeed by moving your arms and legs really fast. Bolt would just have to jump in the water and do what comes naturally, albeit with the plane of his body tilted forward 45 degrees. Michael Phelps’ records wouldn’t stand a chance.
Pinch runner: Even more unlikely than Bolt being able to catch a football with a defensive back draped on him? Bolt hitting a major league slider. But he wouldn’t have to hit. He could just come in late in the game as a pinch runner, steal second, steal third -- those first two steals often coming on the same pitch -- and then steal home. Game over. If George Steinbrenner were still alive, the Yankees would have signed him already.
Tennis ball man: Perhaps not as exciting a job as the others, but a speedy tennis-ball retriever guy sure would keep matches going.
NFL draft bust: Bolt would be insane to not show up at the 2013 NFL draft combine to run a 3.8 40. Scouts would explode in excitement and make him the No. 1 overall pick. He wouldn’t have to impress anyone with actual football activities -- or rather, not impress anyone with actual football activities -- until after signing his contract.