We have entered a time where every second athlete is asked whether they believe they can be the “next Bolt”. The question was put to Wayde van Niekerk at the World Championships in London and this year it has been directed at American sprinter Noah Lyles.
World 400m record holder Van Niekerk already has an impressive list of accolades while Lyles has the potential to become one of the greats over both the 100m and 200m sprint distances.
But I would argue that the Bolt era was somewhat damaging to the sport as too much of the marketing of the sport relied on the iconic Jamaican. Attending the recent Paris Diamond League meeting courtesy of the IAAF, athletics in all its glory was on display.
It was a smörgåsbord of delectable action where the Parisian spectators were treated to world-class performances across the board. Caster Semenya posted the fourth fastest 800m ever, Qatari athlete Abderrahman Samba became only the second man to break the 47-second barrier in the 400m hurdles while Russian Mariya Lasitskene won her 45th consecutive high jump competition.