We already knew he was special.
By the time he reached the start line for the men’s 100m final at the World Athletics Championships at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Usain Bolt was the world’s fastest man and rapidly becoming one of sport’s most popular characters. 9.58 seconds later he had moved nearer to something like immortality; the closest thing in public life to a superhero.
Another world record followed in the 200 metres as the Jamaican began a catalogue of staggering feats. But he was not alone in writing his sporting legend in 2009. In Rome, two soccer players called Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi met in the Uefa Champions League final, with the latter’s Barcelona prevailing in the first instalment of what would become a decade-long rivalry. Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid after that match.
In tennis, Rafael Nadal finally bested Roger Federer at Wimbledon, though that would not be the last great contest between those two. Serena Williams picked up two Grand Slam titles. LeBron James entered the final year of his first spell with the Cleveland Cavaliers, poised to begin his move from respected talent to champion beyond reproach. These figures, along with a small handful of others, would become fixed points in the sports industry firmament, consuming public attention and stabilising sports media through unprecedented change.
We hope the fans will love it. At the end of the day the cricket will dictate if somebody wants to watch it or not – that is essential
Lalit Modi, commissioner, Indian Premier League – Issue 8
- Rio de Janeiro lands South America’s first Olympic Games
- Golf and rugby union earn place on the Olympic programme for 2016
- Cricket investor Allen Stanford arrested for US$7 billion fraud