Arguably the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen, Usain St Leo Bolt, confirmed his tremendous talents when he realized his dreams by winning a phenomenal three gold medals and breaking three world records at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Bolt became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record times and then as part of the 4x100m team that also smashed the world record later in the meet. He created history again and became a legend at the 2012 Olympic Games in London by defending all three Olympic titles with 100m, 200m and 4x100m victories, the latter in a new world record time of 36.84 secs.
Between his Olympic successes Usain stayed firmly in the global spotlight winning three gold medals and setting two individual world records at the 2009 IAAF World T&F Championships in Berlin, Germany. He lowered his 100m time to a staggering 9.58 secs, his 200m time to 19.19 secs and running the third leg helped Jamaica to gold in the 4x100m. He defended his World Championships title in the 200m at the 2011 IAAF World T&F Championships in Daegu, Korea and anchored Jamaica to another world record of 37.04 secs in the 4x100m. In 2013 at the IAAF World T&F Championships in Moscow Usain won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m to make it 8 World Championship gold medals. Usain is currently one of the biggest names in the world of sport – both on and off the track.
While the world danced and celebrated with this precocious talent, this was a dream waiting to happen and not just an overnight sensation.
As early as age 14, young Usain was opening eyes with his lightning speed from regional championships in western Jamaica to national meets set in Kingston to meets in the wider Caribbean.
Usain’s ascent to the pinnacle of world sprinting started with the most unlikely of events as his first medal at any meet came in the 80 hurdles in Class Three at Western Champs held on the campus of his Alma Mater William Knibb Memorial High in Martha Brae, Trelawny when he ‘jumped’ his way to a bronze medal.
Because he towered above his peers even then, Bolt was also entered in the high jump event and was a promising fast bowler in cricket before been encouraged to channel his energies on the track.
By 2001 Bolt became a known commodity and he sent signals that he would be a world beater in early 2002 when he cruised to a hand timed 20.3 seconds to win the 200m at Western Champs finals at Catherine Hall.
Later that year he went on to win the 200m/400m double at CARIFTA Trials before winning four gold medals at the meet held in Nassau, Bahamas.
He announced his arrival to the wider global audience in July 2002 when at the IAAF World Junior T&F Championships in Kingston in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch these meets, he won the host nation’s only individual gold medal, winning the 200m in 20.61 seconds. He left that meet with three medals including two silver medals in the relays, anchoring the 4x100m team and was part of the 4x400m team as well.
That was the start of a meteoric climb to the top that also saw him winning two IAAF Rising Star awards.
It was not always smooth sailing however as injuries slowed him down at several junctures of his career.
Soon after breaking the Word Junior Record in the 200m with a time of 19.93 seconds at the CARIFTA Games in Hamilton, Bermuda in 2004, Bolt was slowed by a troublesome hamstring injury. He qualified for the final of the 200m at the 2005 IAAF World T&F Championships in Helsinki, Finland but in cold and wet weather pulled up before the finish holding his hamstring.
He missed what turned out to be a ‘Jamaican party’ at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2006 when he suffered another hamstring injury while running a leg of the 4x400m relay for the IAAF High performance Centre’s team at the Gibson Relays in Kingston. Jamaican athletes swept all the sprint events at the meet, despite his absence.
Fortunately, he recovered well enough later that year to set a personal best of 19.88 secs in the 200m and place second in the 200m at the IAAF World Cup of Athletics in Stuttgart, Germany.
2007 was the breakthrough year in that he broke the 30 year old Jamaican 200m Record, held by the great Donald Quarrie, with a time of 19.75 secs to win the Jamaican Senior T&F Championships. He went to the 2007 IAAF World T&F Championships in Osaka, Japan in good form and won two silver medals in the 200m and 4x 100m relay.
In 2008 Usain Bolt rewrote the history books and became one of the biggest sports stats on the planet. He moved down in distance to the 100m sprint and in his second race of the year broke the world record with a time of 9.72 secs in New York. Since then he has gone from strength to strength with his heroic achievements in the Olympic Games in Beijing and London and in the IAAF World T&F Championships in Berlin, Daegu , Moscow & Beijing.
He is undoubtedly the ‘World’s Fastest Man’ having broken the 100m world record three times and the 200m record two times.
Usain has been awarded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year on two occasions (2009 & 2010); the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year five times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) as well as many awards in many countries in all corners of the world. He has his own clothing line in conjunction with Puma; his own watch made by Hublot; his own restaurant ‘Tracks & Records’ in Kingston, Jamaica; the ‘Usain Bolt Foundation’ and endorses some of the top brands in the world. —- Courtesy UBF