Some races keep you on the edge of your seat in hair-raising suspense. They defy forecasts and expectations: races you need to see to believe, and thanks to modern technology, you can see them again. And again; experiencing those thrills and sensations over and over. Having flanked so many athletes with the Human Tecar MO, having come to know them and root for them, we’ve hardly tired of the replays.Rio 2016 was not short on such galvanizing competitions: only think of the 400 meter final, both men’s and women’s. What a night!
Sunday, August 14, 3 a.m. Italian time; rather, 3 hours, 43 seconds, 03 hundredths of a second. Wayde van Niekerk, 24-year-old from South Africa, pulverizes Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old record of 1999 in Seville, 43.18, after an electrifying challenge with former Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada and US ‘veteran’ and longtime friend LaShawn Merritt (Olympic champion in 2008; you will recall Mario Scerri’s report on how the American thirty-year-old thanked him in Rio, telling Mario he’d never felt better, thanks to Human Tecar). In the last hundred meters, spectators got the impression that James and Merritt were about to overtake van Niekerk – this did not happen: the South African accelerated to an unbelievable degree. Wayde himself was to say he did not realize what was happening or where he got the strength to win against “such a quality lineup” (James wound up second in 43:76, Merritt third in 43:85).
The South African was to speak of a “miracle” in those last 100 m – true enough, van Niekerk’s hallmarks are his exemplary modesty, strong faith and ability to dream. He is grateful to those who supported him – “God” first and foremost (Whom he credits with his “gift” and Olympic victory), his family, friends and 74-year-old coach, Anna Sofia Botha. We’ve had the chance to observe him closely at the adidas athletes’ hub, as he was undergoing Human Tecar treatment, and can guarantee Wayde van Niekerk is a hundred per cent authentic. A hero in life and in sports.
Then at 23:05 on August 15, Brazilian time – 04:05 the morning of the 16th, Italian time, we witnessed the women’s 400 meter final, pitching the American phenomenon, Allyson Felix, with a decade’s worth of achievements across the board, against young Bahama-born hopeful Shaunae Miller, 22, who literally dived for gold with a 0:07 advantage it took Photofinish to spot. The latter confirmed Miller’s personal best of 49:44, Felix’s silver-medal 49:51, and Shericka Jackson’s bronze in 49:85 for Jamaica.