Time for Bovell to retire, move on
KICKING a man when he's down isn't nice. So I'm just virtually slapping 29-year-old George Bovell for his performance in the 50-metre freestyle final at the London Olympics. He left me deeply depressed, and I'm sure thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians are also unhappy, though they might not say so (some did tell me), and in spite of all the cheering gloss on Page 3 of yesterday's Express.
Let's not baby him; please, don't encourage him to go to Brazil's Olympics in 2016. Bovell has swum in four Olympics: 2000, 2004 (when he won a bronze in the 200m individual medley in Athens), 2008, and 2012 in London. Four Olympics and one bronze.
Twelve years of trying his best: this man lucky. That's enough.
Think of this: hair on the face, which can deprive you of all-important points in a second. I saw no other male swimmer with a grain of hair on their faces. Last Sunday, Bovell had a beard when he came first in his first heat in the 100m backstroke, but his time did him in. He went no further. He opted out of the 100m freestyle. Why? The real reason: the beard? Something else? A rest, so he could take gold in the 50m freestyle?
In the first heat for the 50m freestyle, most of the beard was gone, just a bit left on the chin. Bovell won! In the second heat for the 50m freestyle, the bit of beard was still there (perhaps he should have left it: Sampson's strength was in his hair). Bovell came second in that heat. Did anyone notice that for the 50m freestyle final, Bovell was absolutely clean-shaven—he came seventh. Seventh! How was that possible after he won his first heat, and in his second heat, he came second?
Then seventh in the final? A man with the experience of three previous Olympics? Nah. Something wrong there. But this is not a treatise on hair or beards. What happened to Bovell? What happen?
He made a cliched philosophical statement to Kwame Laurence, writing for the Express from London : "Sport is a platform to learn valuable life lessons. And let's face the facts, failure is a big part of life. It's about learning how to address it, handling it and moving on."
Move on George, move on. And anyway, he can now be called the seventh fastest man on Earth—in swimming pools.
Bovell did say thanks to all who had supported or helped him. That was a nice touch.