When asked the difference between an amateur and a professional Reg Harris replied: “When I was an amateur I had to win. Now that I am a professional I must win in an interesting and dramatic fashion.”
The distinction is gone – along with the cigar smoke and trad-jazz bands of old-time track racing, but it’s still about putting up a good show, pleasing the crowd.
Match sprinting is great entertainment. 550 metres of manoeuvring for position leading up to a flying-start 200 metre dash.
Everyone who watches asks – at least once – ‘why not just go?’
Robert Förstemann’s thighs are so big he walks like a special-needs case. In the very last race on Sunday – the Bronze medal best-of-three decider – he went from the gun. His opponent Kevin Sireau of France, hesitates in momentary disbelief, tries to chase for a few hundred metres, then gives up, allowing Robert to start celebrating, half a lap out.
Their first match – won by the Frenchman – was timed at 10,492. Förstemann took the second in 10,483, For the decider Robert covered the timed 200 metres in 16,531 with his hands off the bars and no one else in the picture.