Higher,faster and stronger is a sporting motto we can all identify with, inboth our personal endeavours and from the sidelines, writes Philip Gomes.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Like many cycling fans I'm also a sporting fan, I've done my fair share of running and enjoy athletics as a spectacle.

Higher,
faster and stronger is a sporting motto we can all identify with, in
both our personal endeavours and from the sidelines.

So it was
with great interest that I along with millions of people around the
world watched that spectacle of athletic spectacles, the men's 100m.

There is nothing like it anywhere, the tension, buildup and then in a flash it's over.

And this years 100m event at the World Athletics Championships redefined flash. Usain Bolt broke his own world record to post a stunning time of 9.58 seconds.

To
put that in terms many cyclists would understand, the man ran the
distance at an average speed of 37.57km/h, and according to The Science
of Sport, between the 60 and 80 meters mark Bolt topped out at an incredible 44.72km/h.

Of
course as cycling fans we immediately begin to think about how
legitimate this record is in the context of developments within our
sport.

Today it seems that, unlike Athletics, every exceptional
cycling performance is endlessly scrutinised and marked with an
asterisk of doubt.

On that score I sometimes think we are our own worst enemy. We no longer enjoy the moment.

Alberto
Contador won the Tour de France with a couple of performances that were
immediately questioned by many within the sport.

He's doping! Or my personal favourite bit of doping code, "his performance was extra-terrestrial."

Again at The Science of Sport, deep questions were asked about Contador's performances, in particular his climbing efficiency. Was his performance possible?

As
with Bolt's record, we don't conclusively know if Contador's
performances are legitimate. And we won't unless proven otherwise via
detailed scientific analysis or a failed doping test.

We are in an age where developments in science, technology and psychology are extending the limits of human sporting performance.

No
one within cycling exemplifies that more that our biggest star, Lance
Armstrong. The Texan leaves no stone unturned is his quest to turn back
time.

I think he's an incredible test case in terms of
prolonging an athletic life (not to mention a post cancer one).
Where he goes, we go. He sets a benchmark.

There was a time when
the four minute barrier for the mile was almost impossible to breach,
then Roger Bannister ran the race of his life to show that it could.

It wasn't long before every quality miler was able to dip under that mythical mark.

Once the the 10 second mark for 100m in sprinting was breached it became child's play for all sprinters of quality.

Now there will be a decades long race to see who will be the first push that 100m mark under 9.5 seconds.

Things
were rougher in Bannister's day, athletes did not have the technical
support they have now, talent was raw and unrefined.

Today
however, we have a climate of identification and self selection that
places promising athletes into systems that take that raw talent and
refine it using all of the modern techniques known to us.

In
Bolt's case, a sprinting culture, stride length, incremental
improvements in his start, and the strength that goes with training and
increasing athletic maturity.

In Contador's, technical
improvements is his time trialling position and how he doses his output
at different points of a stage and his own athletic and psychological
maturity.

It's time for us as cycling fans to cut our high performers (and ourselves) some slack and celebrate the moment.

And
more importantly, enjoy the moment for what it represents because
sometimes what we see is a true greatness, unsullied and real.