Fowler: Trash-talking further incites Bolt

August 8, 2012 

— Leford Green, the Jamaican hurdler who has become a Charlottean, knows Usain Bolt better than most athletes do at these Olympics.

Green, who has lived in Charlotte the past five years and starred at J.C. Smith, has become friends with Bolt over the years. They are about the same age and used to compete with each other before Green became a hurdler and Bolt a short-distance sprinter. The two have been playing video games and hanging out every day in the Olympic Village, Green said.

But even though Green knows Bolt is a normal guy, he remains in awe of Bolt’s performance in the 100 meters Sunday night. “Usain Bolt is a different class of human being,” Green said.

Bolt runs again Thursday in the 200 final. Green said the best way to try and beat Bolt if you are in the next lane is to kill him with pre-race kindness.

“If you talk bad about him, he just goes faster,” Green said. “He’s not a person you want to trash talk. I think the best thing you do is say, ‘You’re really fast.’ Compliment him. That’s not going to slow him down, but if you talk bad about him and doubt his ability, he’s just going to try and prove you wrong.”

• Speaking of the 200-meter race, it was won by Jesse Owens in 1936. But you’d never guess who came in second that day – a guy named Mack Robinson. That probably doesn’t ring a bell, but he was the older brother of future baseball star Jackie Robinson.

• Kobe Bryant looked about 10 years younger suddenly in the U.S. game against Australia Wednesday, firing up a barrage of fourth-quarter three-pointers that kept swishing home in the men’s 119-86 blowout win.

Bryant has been quiet for most of the Olympics, but those threes were very popular with an international audience that truly loves him more than LeBron. The U.S. will play Argentina Friday in the semifinals.

• Jason Richardson, the former South Carolina Gamecock, won a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles Wednesday. If you were watching the Olympics, you might know that. What you probably don’t know is Richardson is a big country-music fan – specifically, Lady Antebellum.

• If the United States wins the total medal count over China, Wednesday will have been one of the keys. Women’s beach volleyball, in particular.

The U.S. swept both the gold and silver medals Wednesday. China’s team was leading in the bronze-medal match, then faltered and ended up fourth.

Also notable: U.S. women have won about twice as many gold medals as the U.S. men have.

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