BERLIN - An American met an old Jamaica friend, a fellow track and field devotee he hadn't seen in a year, walking the Kurfurstendamm on Thursday afternoon.
"We're kicking your rear ends, aren't we?" was the first thing the Jamaican said.
"Not my rear end; I don't take all this stuff that personally," said the American.
The smiles soon were traveling in both directions.
But when you put the chauvinism aside and examine the facts of the matter, the Jamaican gentleman was right on.
Yes, the Jamaicans are kicking Americans' rear ends in the 12th World Championships of Track and Field.
And you know what? It's wonderful stuff, wonderful sport, wonderful theater
A wonderful indicator of the sport's health, a wonderful tribute to the globalism of it all, too.
Good on Jamaica, good on Usain Bolt, good on Melaine Walker, who raced to gold medal performances Thursday.
Good, too, on all those marvelous men and women from Ethiopia and Barbados, Kenya and Panama, Bahamas and Croatia, Puerto Rico and Bahrain, and so many more nations on this earth, who have been collecting medals all week at Olympic Stadium. .
What scenes that storied stadium has been delivering, day in, day out..
You've just to love all those air horns sounding steadily, all those yells and screams, all those flag-draped victory laps, all those medal ceremonies, all those anthems.
Giving the best of themselves, the best of these athletes turn track and field - often a sedate activity in a different setting - into the best kind of spectator sport.
An announced 57,937 turned out at Olympic Stadium Thursday night. What a show they got to see. .
For the first time, perhaps, in his celebrated career, Usain Bolt got a great start.
And the Jamaica express went on to demolish the world record for the 200 with a startling 19.19 second triumph.
It came on the eve of his 23rd birthday - and the one-year anniversary of his previous world 200 record at the Beijing Olympic Games.
When USA's Michael Johnson ran the 200 in 19.32 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, it was considered a performance that might stay in the world record book forever.
Well, it lasted just a dozen years. Bolt knocked it out of the box with his 19.30 in China last August 20.
And now 19.30 has been knocked out of the box...
Olympic Stadium fans gasped when Boit's winning performance was flashed on the scoreboard as 19.20 seconds.
Well, they gasped gasped again when 19.20 was amended to 19.19.
Add the 19.19 to the 100-meter world record of 9.58 he set last Sunday night, all Bolt has to do now is power Jamaica to a world record in the 4x100 relay final on Saturday night.
Count on that happening, too: look for Jamaica to lower its own world mark from the 37.10 it ran in Beijing to something in the 36's.
Team USA will make it a real contest but expert opinion is that all Bolt and buddies have to do is get the baton around the track to win.
And don't think that the figures of 9.58 and 19.19 will endure too long, either.
Will Bolt someday run a 100 in the 9.3 range and a 200 under 19? Don't bet against it.
Bolt's reaction time to the starting gun was just 0.133 seconds. By the middle of the turn, he was just flying.
With the crowd shieking encouragment - in a zillion languages - Bolt continued to pour it on. But he still seemed to slow some once the finish line neared, hence the tgalk of an eventual 200 in the 18s.
So when's his next celebration scheduled ?
About 8:50 p.m Saturday night, for the 4x100.
"I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke," he told the press. "I showed people what can be done with hard work and dedication. I am ready for another world record wikth our relay.
"I do all this for my country. They are crazy for me and proud of me."
Alonzo Edward, a student at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas running for Panama, snared the silver medal back of Bolt in 19.81 with ex-Arkansas star Wallace Spearmon third for USA in 19.85.
Said Spearmon: "I saw Bolt for maybe three seconds. This guy is really fast, he's amazing."
They're pretty proud of Melaine Walker right now in Jamaica, too.
The 26-year-old graduate of Essex County College in Newark and the University of Texas outdueld top American hope Lashinda Demus, 52.42 to 52.96, to add the Worlds 400-meter hurdles title to the Olympic title she won last year.
Finally, after a long morning, afternoon and night of action, Team USA got its winner.
By the sport's long-term traditions, the king of the decathlon is the king of all athletes.
So salute King Trey Hardee.
Pushing himself through the high hurdles, discus, pole vault and javelin Thursday, University of Texas grad Hardee was able to coast on home through the concluding 1500 meters to register an 8,790-point total, best score in the year this year and a clearcut 130 better than silver medalist Leonel Suarez of Cuba.
Now, America's deca-holics can't wait till next year, when Bryan Clay steps back into the starting blocks.
Clay was the 2008 Beijing Olympic champion - but wound up injured at the USA Nationals in Eugene, Oregon in late June, and so was bounced out of the Berlin trip.
Clay's big reward out of Beijing was a Wheaties box contract.
Can Hardee now demand equal supermarket shelf position ?.
"Who knows," he said, all smiles, as the crowd filed out of Olympic Stadium.
It was well past 11 p.m., and time for an American to kick back.