The stadium in Daegu was filled with spectator’s expectant to see the fastest man in athletics perform his usual speed feet in the 100m World Championships. The year was 2011 and all seemed normal Bolt was his usual relaxed self before the race, preening when his name was announced. Bolt had looked in brilliant form in the heats and semi-final, feeling all the hard work he had done on his start had finally paid off. But the Jamaican star got it all wrong in spectacular fashion, springing from his blocks before the gun and pulling his running vest off in frustration, instantly realising he would be disqualified. In the days, months and even years that followed the fairness of the ‘False Start’ rule that Bolt disqualified has been called into question. The fact that athlete Yohan Blake's leg had visibly twitched in the instant before Bolt pushed off from the blocks has been blamed by some (but not Bolt) for the incident. Claiming that that Bolt was only responding to Blake's twitch. Whatever the cause athletes and spectator pretty much agree that Athletics one-false-start disqualification rule is simple the cruellest rule in the sport.
As we left 2020 and entered 2021 there was much hope that the New Year would be the start of a ‘more normal’ life. Even before Big Ben’s chimes had faded a ‘false start’ was declared on that, with the country going back into National Lockdown. The hopes of normality, of family gatherings, of economic recovery were put on hold.
In proverbs 13:12 the Bible says, ‘Hope delayed makes the heart sick,’ How true this verse seems as we made the decision to restart the village Covid-19 support service. How sick our hearts felt as we lost people we love to the virus. The start of 2021 was not the start that we desired; ‘false starts’ are the cruellest in life. Proverbs goes on though, the full verse reads ‘Hope delayed makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life’
Following his false start in the 100m Bolt confirmed that he will run in the 200m saying. "I have to move on now as there is no point dwelling in the past. I have a few days to refocus and get ready for the 200m. After this I have the 4x100m… “
False starts are cruel, what allows us to get up and run again is the hope, the desire to continue; focusing on what can be rather than what has been. Into 2021 that is my prayer that we see our desires fulfilled, that we have the strength to look towards the next thing and we are not lulled into false starts just because someone else twitches.