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By Nick Webb from London, United Kingdom (Usain Bolt – The Bolt! Uploaded by Kafuffle) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Twitter was abuzz tonight for a few reasons. First, Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 100m sprint at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 9.81 seconds. It was an impressive run by the Fastest Man On Earth. Not long after, there were reports of gunfire at New York’s JFK Airport. While people were tweeting about both, nobody considered that the two might actually be related.
According to NBC News, that is possibly the case:
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that the concern started when a woman coming off a plane said she thought she’d heard gunfire. Two other law enforcement officials also said at least one person reported having heard gunfire.
One of the officials said cheering, clapping and banging from people watching the Olympic Games may have been misinterpreted as a fight and gunshots. The initial alarm spread through Terminal 8 and to Terminal 1, the official said.
The first reports of gunfire at JFK Airport came in around 9:3opm Eastern, while the 100m Final start time was scheduled for 9:25pm, so the two times match up. It’s entirely possible that a starter’s gun, followed by 10 seconds of yelling, then more eruptions of cheering, would stand out as abnormal in an airport. It’s just unfortunate that the idea of “see something, say something” led to airport evacuations over the Olympics.
On one hand, the story is kind of funny, that people cheering for a sporting event would accidentally cause such chaos. On the other hand, thousands of people may have had their travel plans disrupted thanks to Usain Bolt & one woman who had no idea what was going on but just had to do something about it.