Smashing world records and winning multiple gold medals, Usain Bolt has been dubbed as the ‘Fastest Man Alive’, a title which is well deserved. He is widely considered to be the best sprinter of all time. Breaking world records, Usain Bolt is also an eleven-time world champion, where he holds world records in races for 100 metres at 9.58 secs, and 200 metres, at 9.19 secs, both of which he achieved at the 2009 Berlin World Athletics Championships. Although he retired in 2017, Usain Bolt continues to hold on to the title of ‘Fastest Man Alive’. Let’s know about the story of Usain Bolt, from a little kid with dreams to the fastest sprinter alive!
“Don’t think about the start of the race, think about the ending”.
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Table of contents
Early Life and Childhood
Usain St Leo Bolt was born on 21st August, 1986 in Sherwood Content, a small town in Jamaica. During his childhood, Bolt would spend his time playing cricket and football with his brother, Sadiki, while his parents ran the local grocery store. As a child, Bolt attended Waldensia Primary, where he began showing his potential for sprinting. By the time he was 12, he had become the school’s fastest runner over 100 metres.
When he began high school, he focused on many sports, however, his cricket coach realised his affinity for athletics and encouraged him to try track and field events. Later, this would be a great decision because he claimed the title of world junior champion at age 16, bagging 1 gold medal and 2 silver medals.
The rush of medals did not stop there, as he won four golds at the 2003 CARIFTA Games and was awarded the Austin Sealy Trophy for the most outstanding athlete of the games. He won another gold at the 2003 World Youth Championships. Bolt competed in his final Jamaican High School Championships in 2003. He broke the 200 m and 400 m records with times of 20.25 secs and 45.35 secs, respectively.
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Early Career (2004-2007)
In 2004, Usain Bolt turned professional under the guidance of a new coach, Fitz Coleman. He first participated in CARIFTA Games in Bermuda and became the first sprinter to run 200 metres under 20 secs, thereby securing the world junior record outright with a time of 19.93 secs. For the second time in the role, he was awarded the Austin Sealy Trophy for the most outstanding athlete of the 2004 CARIFTA Games.
Later in the year, despite a nagging hamstring injury, Bolt was chosen for the Jamaican Olympic squad for the 2004 Athens Olympics. He was eliminated in the first round of the 200 meters, though, again hampered by injury. Bolt reached the world Top 5 rankings in 2005 and 2006. Unfortunately, injuries continued to plague the 6’5″ sprinter, preventing him from completing a full professional season.
In 2007, Bolt broke the national 200-meter record held for over 30 years by Donald Quarrie, and earned two silver medals at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. These medals boosted Bolt’s desire to run, and he took a more serious stance toward his career.
Here is an overview of Usain Bolt’s records, medals, awards and more!
2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
- At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Bolt ran the 100-meter and 200-meter events. In the 100 meter final leading up to the games, he broke the world record, winning in 9.69 secs.
- Bolt also broke the 200 meter world record, which was previously held by retired Jamaican sprinter Don Quarrie, setting a new record of 19.30 secs. This made Bolt the first sprinter to break both records at the same Olympics.
- Bolt ran as the third leg in the Jamaican 4 × 100 metres relay team, increasing his gold medal total to three. Along with teammates Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, and Asafa Powell, Bolt broke another world and Olympic record, their 37.10 s finish breaking the previous record by three-tenths of a second.
2012 London Olympics
- At the 2012 London Olympics, he won the 100 metres gold medal with a time of 9.63 seconds, improving upon his own Olympic record and duplicating his gold medal win from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- He went on to compete in the men’s 200 metres, claiming his second consecutive gold medal in that race as well. He became the first man to win both the 100 and 200 in consecutive Olympic Games, as well as the first man to ever win back-to-back gold medals in double sprints.
- On the final day of the 2012 Olympic athletics, Bolt participated in Jamaica’s gold medal-winning 4×100 metres relay team along with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Blake. With a time of 36.84 seconds, they knocked two tenths of a second from their previous world record from the 2011 world championship.
2016 Rio Olympics
- Bolt returned to Olympic glory at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games when he won gold in the 100-meter race with a time of 9.81 secs, making him the first athlete to win three successive titles in the event.
- He continued his Olympic winning streak, taking gold in the 200 meters in 19.78 secs. This also makes him the first athlete to win the 200 metres three times at the Olympic Games.
- Bolt ran the anchor leg for the finals of the 4 × 100 metres relay and secured his third consecutive and last Olympic gold medal in the event. With that win, Bolt obtained the ‘triple-triple’, three sprinting gold medals in three consecutive Olympics, and finished his Olympic career with a 100% win record in finals.
However, in January 2017, Bolt was stripped of the 4 × 100 relay gold from the Beijing Games in 2008 because his teammate Nesta Carter was found guilty of a doping violation.
2009 Berlin World Championship
- The 2009 World Championships were held during August at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where Bolt eased through the 100-m heats, clocking the fastest ever pre-final performance of 9.89 secs. The final was the first time that Bolt and Tyson Gay had met during the season, and Bolt set a new world record, which stands to this date, with a time of 9.58secs to win his first World Championship gold medal.
- Bolt once again produced world record-breaking time in the 200 metres final. He broke his own record by 0.11 seconds, finishing with a time of 19.19 seconds.
- However, he together with other members of Jamaican 4×100 metres relay team, fell short of their own world record of 37.10 secs set at 2008 Summer Olympics by timing 37.31 secs, which is, however, a championship record and the second fastest time in history at that date.
2011 World Championship
- Bolt went undefeated over 100 metres and 200 metres in the 2011 season. He began with wins in Rome and Ostrava in May. He ran his first 200 m in over a year in Oslo that June and his time of 19.86 seconds was a world-leading one.
- Two further 200 metres wins came in Paris and Stockholm the following month, as did a 100 m in Monaco.
- Unfortunately, Bolt was eliminated from the finals of 100 metres due ‘breaking’ ridiculously early according to the starter thereby receiving a false start.
- In the World Championships 200 metres, Bolt cruised through to the final which he won in a time of 19.40. Bolt closed the championships with another gold with Jamaica in the 4 × 100 metres relay.
2013 World Championship
- Bolt failed to record below 10 seconds early in the season and had his first major 100 metres race of 2013 at the Golden Gala in June. He was served an unexpected defeat by Justin Gatlin, with the American winning 9.94 secs to Bolt’s 9.95 secs.
- Bolt regained the title as world’s fastest man by winning the World Championships 100 metres in Moscow. In wet conditions, he edged Gatlin by eight hundredths of a second with 9.77 secs, which was the fastest run that year.
- During the 200 metres race, Bolt ran a time of 19.66 secs, and this performance made Bolt the first man in the history of the 200 metres at the World Championships in Athletics to win three gold medals over the distance.
- Bolt won a third consecutive world relay gold medal in the 4 × 100 metres relay final, which made him the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the world championships.
2015 Beijing World Championship
- In march 2014, Bolt suffered an injury to his hamstrings muscles because of which he only ran a few 100 metres and 200 metres races at the beginning of 2015.
- In the World Championships 100 metres, Bolt won his semi-final in 9.96 secs, which was behind Gatlin’s semi-final win of 9.77 sec. In the finals, in a narrow victory, Bolt leaned at the line to beat Gatlin, 9.79 secs to 9.80 secs.
- A similar outcome followed in the 200 m World finals. In the semi-final, Gatlin outpaced Bolt, the Jamaican at 19.95 secs and the American at 19.87 secs. Despite such slow times prior to Beijing, Bolt delivered in the final with his fifth fastest run ever for the 200 metres at 19.55 secs.
- There was also a fourth straight win in the 4 × 100 metres relay with the Jamaica team.
- An injury to Bolt’s hamstring in March 2014 caused him to miss nine weeks of training. Having recovered from surgery, Bolt competed in the 4 × 100 metres relay of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
- Bolt and his teammates won the 4 × 100 metres relay in 37.58 secs, a Commonwealth Games record.
- After setting a record of 9.98 secs in indoor 100 metres in Warsaw, Bolt ended his season early in order to be fit for the 2015 season.
In 2017, Bolt faced challenges on the track at the World Athletics Championships. He finished third in the men’s 100 meters, taking home the bronze medal behind Christian Coleman, who won silver, and Gatlin, who took home the gold. It was the first time that Bolt had been beaten at the World Athletics Championships since 2007. His struggles didn’t end there. In the 4×100-meter relay, which many believed would be Bolt’s final race, he collapsed from a hamstring injury and had to cross the finish line with the help of his teammates.
In August 2017, following the World Athletics Championships, Bolt announced his retirement from track and field.
Bolt expresses a love for dancing and his character is frequently described as laid-back and relaxed. His Jamaican track and field idols include Herb McKenley and former Jamaican 100 m and 200 m world record holder Don Quarrie.
Bolt has the nickname “Lightning Bolt” due to his name and speed. He is Catholic and known for making the sign of the cross before racing competitively, and he wears a Miraculous Medal during his races.
On 17 May 2020, Bolt’s longtime girlfriend Kasi Bennett gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Olympia Lightning Bolt. Bolt and Bennett welcomed twin boys named Saint Leo and Thunder in June 2021.
Guinness World Records
Usain Bolt has claimed 19 World Records and holds the second-highest number of accumulative Guinness World Records for a total number of accomplishments and victories in sports.
Some of the international records of Usain Bolt are:
- Fastest run 150 metres (male)
- Most medals won at the IAAF Athletics World Championships (male)
- Most gold medals won at the IAAF Athletics World Championships (male)
- Most Athletics World Championships Men’s 200 m wins
- Most consecutive Olympic gold medals won in the 100 metres (male)
- Most consecutive Olympic gold medals won in the 200 metres (male)
- Most Olympic men’s 200 metres Gold medals
- Fastest run 200 metres (male)
- Most Men’s IAAF World Athlete of Year Trophies
- First Olympic track sprint triple-double
- Highest annual earnings for a track athlete
- Most wins of the 100 m sprint at the Olympic Games
- First athlete to win the 100 m and 200 m sprints at successive Olympic Games
- Fastest run 100 metres (male)
- First man to win the 200 m sprint at successive Olympic Games
- Most Athletics World Championships Men’s 100 m wins
- Most tickets sold at an IAAF World Championships
- Most competitive 100 m sprint races completed in sub 10 seconds
- Fastest relay 4×100 metres (male)
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Usain Bolt has proved time and again that perseverance and hard work pays off. Despite numerous setbacks and injuries, he has proven himself to be worthy of the title ‘Fastest Man Alive’. His determination and unstoppable willpower to bag the win will always be admired. We hope you liked this blog on Usain Bolt’s inspiring story! Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more such inspirational success stories around the world!