Sunday, October 7, 2018

I Am Bolt: Documentary Review

Last week I was flipping through Netflix and was reminded that the documentary I Am Bolt was there. It seemed like the perfect night for a documentary, so I turned it on! I was only thinking I'd be watching half of it, but I ended up watching all of it in one sitting!

The documentary follows Jamaican track star Usain Bolt as he prepares for the 2016 Olympics in Rio - his last Olympics. In between life, training, and injury recovery (more on that later), the doc inserts highlights of Bolt's early career and Olympic moments. It was crazy seeing him as a 15-year-old!

This was originally put together for German television and aired in late 2016. If you've been a fan of Bolt, this documentary will only make you like him more. He's not always shown to be omniscient - leading up to 2016 he actually suffered a hamstring injury early in the year which postponed his training. It also reared up in the national championships, and if you remember, he didn't race in them but was still named to the Jamaican team.

I think the moments that struck me the most were the times when Bolt was kind of holed up in his hotel room. There was one night where he couldn't sleep, and was just shooting a video in his teeny room while rolling around on his electric skateboard. Why? Well, if he'd gone anywhere, he would be mobbed!

I was never a huge fan of Bolt because of all the media hype, but this documentary helped me to appreciate him more as a person and less as a gloating athlete who panders to the crowd. I've learned to admire athletes for simply capitalizing on adrenaline than being showhogs. I also blame the media more than any other group for overhyping athletes and making them look more like myths than men and women. This documentary helped me see Bolt as a person.

I recommend this documentary if you have a free couple of hours and have Netflix. I hope they put more stuff like this on streaming platforms!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

Still working on my volunteer application. I also sent in an email to the Abroad in Japan podcast about where to stay during the Olympics, and they (Chris and Pete) suggested a hostel instead of two weeks in a capsule hotel. They also said that AirBNB, who has completely overhauled their Japanese rules and reservations, should be back to normal by the time the Olympics roll around. (I'm not a huge hostel fan, so AirBNB is probably the best idea for me.)

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

I'm not going to link a video this week, but if you have any interest in the Youth Olympics, they have been live streaming a ton of stuff today, and probably will continue to do so as the week progresses. I actually got to watch the entire Opening Ceremony on YouTube!

Mini Blurbs

  • Speaking of Opening Ceremony, here's my hot take: it was boring. One highlight was that instead of doing the ceremony in a stadium, they did it in the middle of Buenos Aires' Avenida 9 de Julio, its main street that features a large obelisk that they used to project various things via projection mapping. But that positive was also a negative: they had a very small amount of space to use, and while they tried to spread the entertainment, it ended up only being visible to a small crowd of people. 
  • The athletes were brought in all at once at the beginning of the ceremony and were allowed prime standing room in the middle of the front stage. But then they tried to bring in the Olympic flag through the teenagers, and they did not want to let the thing through! You really thought that teenagers would know to move aside? You guessed wrong. 
  • Since the athletes all moved into the area at once, they just announced the flag bearers and they walked across the stage. It was pretty dull - plus the announcers only had about five seconds to say one interesting fact about the athlete or the country. Clearly the flags are more interesting if they come in with all the athletes. 
  • I might watch some Youth Olympics - especially at school while I'm correcting papers. Otherwise I just can't drum up interest. I'll let you know next week if I did get any interest. Let me know if you watch anything!
  • I am watching the US men's gymnastics selection competition from last month, and this week the women are competing. They just do it in one of the US Olympic Training Center gyms, so there's basically no audience. It's quite different!
  • The Olympic Channel also has a podcast, and a few weeks ago they did an episode on mental health and interviewed two athletes: Michael Phelps and Pieter Van den Hoogenband (still the best name in Olympic history IMO). The Phelps interview wasn't long at all, and that's basically the reason I downloaded the episode. However, the Van den Hoogenband interview was very entertaining and I like him even more now. 
  • Anyone aware that NBCSN is doing Curling Night in America? I mean, why not take advantage of the curling "craze" and turn the sport into a regular show instead of four times a year? I'm going to try to watch!
  • I almost forgot to talk about the Chicago Marathon! I watched it this afternoon and was thrilled when British runner Mo Farah won the marathon! It was tight between him and Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew until about 400 meters to go, when Farah turned on the jets and Geremew couldn't keep up. (It should be noted that world record holder Eliud Kipchoge didn't run this marathon.)
  • The weather in the midwest has been disgusting for about four days, so the weather in Chicago was also gross. But it was still better weather than this year's Boston Marathon!
  • I'd been following triathlete (and Olympic gold medalist) Gwen Jorgensen as she trained for the Chicago marathon, and she ended up finishing in ninth. She said she was disappointed, but anyone who decides to run 26.2 miles and finishes ninth in an elite field should be commended. Way to go Gwen!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

Well, kind of? I don't think I want to count it, though, so no. 


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

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