Hottest Ticket On The Planet Right Now? Sure Ain't Lady Gaga
By Eric Adelson
The Post Game
Wednesay 25th May, 2011
So now that the Royal Wedding is over, what's the most desired ticket in the world? Courtside at the NBA Finals? The Super Bowl in New York City? The World Cup final in Rio?
How about none of the above?
The BBC reports that one million people applied to see an event that has nothing to do with Tom Brady or LeBron James or Lionel Messi.
And the event will last less than 10 seconds.
We're talking about the men's 100-meter final in London next August. The sprint is always the marquee event of the Summer Olympics, but this is likely the most anticipated Olympic event ever, because of one man.
Every sports fan in the world, let alone the million who applied for a seat at the Olympic Stadium next year, wants to watch Usain Bolt try to beat his unfathomable world record Olympic time of 9.69 seconds, set at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
To give you some perspective, 1.6 million people applied for tickets to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but that was for a weeks-long tournament. This is for one race.
The stadium seats 80,000, so chances are not great, but if Bolt lowers his mark, few will complain about shelling out 725 pounds (about $1,000) to see it.
Bolt will be 25 when he takes his place in the starting blocks next year -- assuming he stays healthy and qualifies, of course -- putting him right in the prime of his sprinting life. So although he'll be competing against seven other runners, he'll really be competing against the limits of human capacity -- and himself.
His Beijing performance was met with both awe -- he beat the second place finisher by a whopping 0.2 seconds -- and wonder. Bolt slowed down to showboat at the end of the race, and had a shoelace untied, so speculation immediately began as to how fast he could really run. Some calculated close to 9.5 seconds, which is preposterous in a world where a sub-9.8 time is still superb. (Maurice Greene set a World Record with a 9.79 time in 1999.)
So almost as soon as Bolt crossed the finish line in Beijing, the countdown to London 2012 began. While most assume Michael Phelps has reached his potential as an Olympian, Bolt's ceiling is very much up for debate. Many think the 2012 Games will bring the answer. And many think Bolt will hit a generational best -- a mark that will not be matched for decades, despite the steady progression of lower times over the course of running history.
Bolt made London even more interesting in 2009 by lowering his world record to 9.58 seconds in Berlin. At the end of that event, the mayor of that city presented the sprinter with a chunk of the Berlin Wall that weighed nearly three tons.
But that heavy piece of history is not nearly as popular these days as the little piece of paper that will allow a view of the fastest human ever.