Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson says he can run with Usain Bolt.
Despite being wowed by the Olympic champion, Johnson believes he would be up to the challenge against Bolt if they were face to each other in the 40.
"I feel like if I would have kept training for track I'd have a chance, but I play football and he runs track, so it's totally different," Johnson told the Tennessean. "I think I could still probably beat him in the 40. If I actually trained for the distance he trained for, I think I'd have a chance."
Even with his proclamation, Johnson has the utmost respect for Bolt, who is considered the fastest man in the world.
"He is a great athlete," Johnson told the newspaper. "I think he'll be the best track athlete to ever compete in the Olympics."
After setting world records in the 100 and 200 meters at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Bolt broke his Olympic mark in the 100 by running 9.63 seconds in London. Bolt is also the world-record holder (9.58).
Johnson does have a running pedigree to at least offer a challenge to Bolt. He was a high school track star in Orlando and clocked at 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2008. It still stands as the fastest time ever at the combine.
While Johnson has said he wouldn't mind running against Bolt, the Jamaican track star told a British newspaper earlier this week that he'd like to play for soccer giant Manchester United.
"People think I am joking, but if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, 'OK let's do this, come and have a trial,' it would be impossible for me to say no," Bolt told the Sun on Monday. "I would not take up the challenge if I didn't think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference."
10 years ago when a player was aching from the pains of labor, he would slap an ice pack on the necessary area. Today, scientists have created numerous ways to expedite the healing process. Cryogenic machines and hyperbaric chambers are just two ways for a player to get back in the game a little quicker than the natural body-healing processes allow.
When Terrell Owens confidently strode onto the field for Super Bowl XXXIX, to audible sighs of disbelief, the world stopped to take notice of hyperbaric chambers. Even after several doctors told T.O. that he wouldn’t overcome his leg fracture in time for the Super Bowl, he placed himself inside his own personal hyperbaric chamber and accelerated the healing process to the point that he defied medical theories. From that point on, many athletes have acquired personal chamber to attain the benefits they provide.
Hyperbaric chambers are nothing new having been around since the 1930’s. However, it is only in the past 15 years that they have become assessable. Originally used to treat divers suffering from the “bends” a sickness that comes on when divers resurface too quickly, the chamber can replicate the atmospheric conditions of deep water and assimilate raising to the surface in the correct manner. Where athletes take notice, is in the chambers ability to increase the bodies number of red blood cells. Red blood cells help to get oxygen to the working muscles during exercise or to the injured muscles during recovery and rehab. Traditionally gaining more red blood cells was achieved by training at altitude, where the oxygen is harder to come by, making the body create extra red blood cells to compensate. The hyperbaric chamber can recreate high altitude conditions, without having to head to the mountains. Similarly the purer oxygen levels experienced inside a hyperbaric chamber allows the body to deliver more oxygen then normal to damaged cells during an injury, thus speeding up the recovery time. The cost of a portable chamber is anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 and is simple to operate which is increasingly making them an important component in an athlete’s training equipment.
Putting ice on an injury has long since been accepted wisdom in the world of sports medicine but standing inside a chamber where the temperature plummets to -184° F is new. Whole body cryotherapy is when a person steps into a cryogenic chamber for upwards of three minutes. The conditions experienced are extreme yet not severe enough to cause tissue damage. Cooling the body so quickly essentially tricks your body into thinking its experiencing trauma and as such it responds by releasing various endorphins. The effects are said to include a decrease in joint pain as well as various psychological benefits, attained by this rush of endorphins. Cryogenic therapy is very popular in Europe with a range of athletes using it to aid in recovery. The Welsh Rugby team based their preseason training camp at the Olympic Rehabilitation Centre in Poland, a place famed for its cryogenic chamber. Undertaking a vicious training camp, the squad used the chamber twice daily for two weeks, in an attempt to allow them to train more vigorously. The results were positie as the Welsh went on to finish third in the Rugby World Cup. Don’t rush out to install one in your house just yet, as the scientific evidence surrounding cryotherapy is still questionable. While many athletes feel better after the treatment, medical evidence shows little to supporting these feelings. However as many athletes struggle to shake injuries from their mentality, the opposite effect could worthwhile.
Reality TV is a constantly changing genre of television. Unfortunately, reality TV has recently turned for the worst. A genre that used to be populated with only television programs such as Survivor, American Idol, The Amazing Race, and The Apprentice, is now polluted with such shows as Kim Kardashian and Snookie. However, as always, sports come to the rescue. HBO has created two different programs, Hard Knocks and 24/7, which has restored faith in the common man for reality television.
Hard Knocks is a reality sports documentary television program produced by HBO and NFL Films. Each year, the show follows one NFL team through its training camp. The show provides an in-depth viewpoint of how the team prepares for the upcoming season. It gives the viewer an inside view on an NFL team’s training camp, including position battles, players’ personal and family matters, and even inside jokes between the players. Hard Knocks likes to focus on the adjustment rookies make when joining an NFL team. It also enjoys following a journeyman player or un-drafted rookie’s training camp experience. Over the last 11 years, the show has followed the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys (twice), Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins (2012), and in its most popular season, the New York Jets.
The show has won two Emmy awards over the years; one being the year it followed the Jets. That season of Hard Knocks featured numerous important storylines for the Jets. Head Coach Rex Ryan had several curse-filled rants that caused some controversy in the media. The show also followed running back Danny Woodhead’s training camp experience and his attempt to make the team. It was because of Hard Knocks that Woodhead’s story became so well known, making his match-up with the Jets (as a member of the Jets’ rival New England Patriots) a story known around the country. Perhaps the most controversial moment of the show came when Antonio Cromartie attempted (and failed) to name all nine of his children. Controversy or not, Hard Knocks has provided football fans with some much-needed entertainment over the years.
While Hard Knocks has been around since 2001, 24/7 is a relatively new series. There have been 30-minute long episodes of various boxing matches since 2007, but the most popular and recent episodes have been the two seasons of Road to the NHL Winter Classic. For the last two NHL Winter Classics, HBO has followed the two teams for a few weeks, covering every aspect of the preparation for the game and the rivalry between the two teams. While Hard Knocks focuses on one team and takes you through the preparations for a season for only a single NFL club, 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic focuses almost entirely on the rivalry between the two franchises. In the last two years, the Winter Classic has been between the Penguins and Capitals, and between the Rangers and Flyers. Those are two of the biggest rivalries in all of hockey. HBO does a magnificent job of highlighting the harsh feelings the clubs have for each other, further enhancing the rivalry for the fans of the two teams.
HBO has done reality television a favor by creating Hard Knocks and 24/7. Both give inside perspectives of a part of sports that the common man would normally never get to see. Not only does it show fans what a typical day in the office is like for their favorite players, but it also helps to show people that athletes are normal people too. The two programs show that professional athletes joke around with each other, overreact about things, and sometimes have some difficulties with their jobs, just like all of us. These two programs provide a glimmer of hope for reality television.
COMING OFF ONE OF THEIR MOST POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL SEASONS, BOTH THE NBA AND NFL TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEIR POPULARITY IN ORDER TO BENEFIT SOCIETY
The 2011-2012 league year was another success for the NBA and NFL. Both leagues have used their popularity to benefit society, and have taken advantage of their global influence with their respective “green initiatives.”
The NBA Cares program has been an incredibly successful since its creation in 2005. The program has raised more than $190 million dollars and provided more than 1.9 million hours of hands-on service, while also building over 700 places around the world where kids can play, learn, and live. The NBA Green Initiative is one of five programs that makes up NBA Cares and is aimed at developing a personal responsibility towards environmental issues and generating awareness and funding to protect the environment. The NBA utilizes its partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to assist with this program.
The biggest part to NBA’s green movement is their NBA Green Week. For the third consecutive year, the NBA has partnered with the NRDC for Green Week. According to NBA.com, “Throughout the week the NBA highlighted league, team and player environmental initiatives including in-arena awareness nights, recycling programs and hands-on service projects.” During this year’s Green Week, all 30 franchises wore Revolution 30 uniforms, made from 60 percent recycled materials.
It should come as no surprise that the NFL jumped aboard the green movement’s bandwagon after the NBA’s original success. This past season, two NFL teams unveiled new green energy installations. The Washington Redskins installed 8,000 solar panels at FedEx Field, while the Seattle Seahawks installed a 3,750-panel collection on the roof of CenturyLink Field.
The most impressive NFL energy project comes from the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Eagles have been working on a project that will make Lincoln Financial Field one of the premier energy-efficient sports facilities in the world. The Eagles’ stadium will be self-sufficient, by creating an integrated sustainable energy solution, which will consist of solar panels and micro wind-turbines. Annually, they will provide almost six times the power used during a season’s worth of home games.
In the past few years, many professional sports leagues have upped their attempts to go green. Now, MLB and NHL have joined the race, working to become more eco-friendly. If these leagues can pass their green initiatives to their fans, it will significantly increase awareness and encourage people to become more environmental friendly in their daily lives.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said “Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.” Usain Bolt fully embodies this sentiment.. He has nothing left to prove in the world of track & field. He could retire today and still be considered the greatest sprinter ever; his world records would serve as testiment to his greatness. He possesses extreme confidence in his ability which fosters his desire to run faster than anyone ever thought possible. Bolt’s false start at last year’s World Championships has critics questioning has he peaked. Expect his unbridled ambition to prove these detractors wrong.
Bolt is a phenomenon. In only his fifth professional race in 100 meters he broke fellow countryman Asafa Powell’s world record of 9.74 seconds, posting a time of 9.72 seconds at Icahn Stadium in New York. He followed up this success by entering the 2008 Beijing Olympics as overwhelming favorite to win gold. The Olympic Games have long been the graveyard for odds-on favorites, the pressure that comes with the history and intrigue of the Olympics makes many elite athletes crumble. Bolt not only won the 100m race, he bested his own world record in the process, sauntering across the finish line pounding his chest at the crowd of thousands looking on in awe. His celebration drew ire from track aficionados as braggadocio and mocking his competitors.
In the 200 meter final he broke Michael Johnson’s 8-year-old world record of 19.32 seconds winning his 2nd gold medal (19.30sec). He dug in with every step in the final 50 meters, complete with an eleventh-hour lean toward the finish line, which quieted those same pundits in less time than his 100m race.
In the process, he became the first Olympic sprinter to break world records in each event at the same Olympics. Not one to rest on his laurels, he added the 4 x 100 meter relay to his tally of gold medals and another world and Olympic record (37.10sec) to his catalog.
2008 did not just see Bolt enter the realm of superstardom; he’d kicked down the door and announced his presence. He had a trademark celebration, “To Di World”, was a media darling recognizable throughout the sports world. Even the chicken nuggets he ate before the Olympic Final gained popularity. Along with Michael Phelps, the Olympic gold medal swimmer, Bolt was the headline of the 2008 Beijing Games. Finishing a career with this sort of a roll call would be impressive but the human phenomenon that is Usain Bolt was only getting started.
He went to the World Championships in Berlin in 2009 and won the 100 and 200 meters titles. Not satisfied with just the medals at these events he also set two new world records. These performances elevated him to another level of respect with many proclaiming him the greatest sprinter ever to grace a track. Three Olympic Gold medals and three world and Olympic records all before his 23rd birthday puts his achievements into even starker contrast. Since, Bolt has flirted with the idea of running the 400 meters at a future Olympics as well as trying to match Jessie Owens and Carl Lewis by winning a long jump gold medal. He has also stated his desire to play professional soccer when he retires.
Needless to say his meteoric rise both on and off the track is still ascending. He’s a member of the 2012 Time Magazine 100 most influential people in the world. His endorsements have pushed Virgin Media to post record first quarter profits. The Bolt Collection is PUMA’s latest marketing venture for its premier client and his book deal with publishing giant HarperCollins is certain to land on the New York Times Best-Seller list upon its scheduled 2012 release. He’s Got Game! We chased him down, figuratively, to discuss the pressures of success, the 2012 Olympic Games and challenges to his throne. Oddly enough; his answers were strikingly similar to his races, short and to the point.
What's your impression when you hear the phrase Got Game?
To me that means that you have got skills.
How much pressure do you feel when you sit in the blocks knowing the world
not only expects you to win but to shatter world records? Did this affect your performance at last year’s World Championships?
The only pressure you feel is what you put on yourself. Last year’s false start was due to me coming into the World’s in very good shape and trying too hard to run a fast time. I was too anxious to perform.
What are your thoughts on the one-and-done false start penalty?
The rule is the rule.
Explain the mental aspect of sprint running?
The mental aspect is important. For me I run best when I am relaxed and focused.
Describe the feeling you get once you set foot on the track for a race at the Olympics?
The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event for an athlete. The whole world is watching. This year it will be in London and it will be a magnificent event. I am really looking forward to the energy and the buzz of the crowd.
How much different will this experience be from your last one?
It isn’t that different. I will have a similar schedule and similar opponents.
How much does it annoy you when you the media portray you as this happy-go-lucky athlete, who was born naturally fast and doesn't need to work hard?
Well I was born fast but I still have to work extremely hard to get to the top and stay there.
Describe your passion for Jamaica? What keeps you at home when you have had so many offers to train all over the world?
I love Jamaica - it is my home and I couldn’t live anywhere else. We have the best training environment for sprinting in the world. Other athletes come to Jamaica to train so why would I think about going elsewhere?
You started off as a 400m runner, have you considered going after Michael Johnson's 400m record?
I am focused on the 100m and 200m at the moment.
How fast do you envision yourself running in the 100m and 200m by careers end? Sub 9.50 & 19.0sec respectively?
I never set limits but I hope to break my own records. If anyone has the ability to go sub 9.5sec its me!
As a sports fan, do you follow American sport? Did you find it disrespectful when Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson challenged you to a race?
I am a big fan of the Boston Celtics and watch all their games. Anyone can challenge me to a race – I’m cool with that. I race all the time and anyone is welcome to get a lane to run against me.
In a sport dogged by doping controversies, how much pressure do you feel to stay squeaky clean? Is this added pressure on you as you're the highest profile athlete in the world?
I am fortunate to have a natural talent. There is no pressure to cheat. I win clean.
OTHER ATHLETES TO WATCH AT THE 2012 LONDON SUMMER OLYMPICS
Michael Phelps – USA Swimmer
One of the most successful Olympians of all time, Phelps won 8 gold medals at the 2008 Games breaking Mark Spitz record of the most gold medals won in a single Games. Like Bolt, his desire to succeed is unquenchable and with Phelps hinting at how this may be his last Olympics, expect him to depart in style.
Katie Taylor – Ireland Boxer
Female boxing is getting its debut in the London Games and Taylor is the queen in waiting of female amateur boxing. She is the 3 time world champion at the 60kg class and is undefeated in nearly 3 years. Taylor turned down numerous offers to turn pro in expectance of winning gold at these Games.
Roger Federer – Switzerland Tennis
Federer has never won an Olympic gold medal which makes it about the only medal that has not darkened his trophy cabinets’ door. He has an incredible record at Wimbledon – where the tennis is being held – which makes him one of the favorites. Could a gold medal see him bowing out of the sport?
Chris Hoy – Great Britain Cycling
A triple gold medalist at the Beijing games, Hoy returned to Britain as a national star and was soon awarded a knighthood by the Queen. Expect the pressure on home soil to be intense but the man they call the “Real McCoy” is as good a cyclist as there is out there.
Misty May Treanor & Kerri Walsh – USA Beach Volleyball
They have been called the greatest beach volleyball team of all time and with the last two Olympic gold medals under their belt, who can deny that? At London 2012 they will attempt to win an unprecedented third Olympic Gold medal in a row and thus cement themselves in the pantheon of great Olympians.