Olympic Stories

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

Bolt has one of the most apt names in athletic running. He is a Jamaican born athletic sprinter, and was born on 21st August 1986 in Trelawny, Jamaica.

He has won three gold medals in his time for his performances in the World Games and Olympic Games. Currently the age of 24, Bolt is the youngest runner so far to have won Olympic gold medals. Bolt is known for his practical jokes, and has been in trouble for taking things a little too far at times.

He grew up with his parents in his home town and his two siblings, a brother and sister. As a child he played football and cricket with his brother, and his parents ran a greengrocers. After realising how quick he was when running, Bolt turned his attention to running. He started his career at the William Knibb High School where he was coached by Pablo McNeil and Dwayne Barrett. In 2001, he won his first school championships where he received a medal for coming 2nd place in the 200 metre race, finishing in 22.04 seconds.

Later in 2001 Bolt participated in the CARIFTA Games and represented Jamaica and won a silver medal for his country in both the 200 metre and 400 metre events. Here he set his personal best time for the 400 metre race distance of 48.28. As mentioned earlier, Bolt was a bit of a joker, and he ended up being arrested before the CARIFTA even when he hid in a van instead of training.

Perhaps if he’d have trained he may have hit gold instead of silver. The same year he went on to take part in the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships which were held in Hungary, but he was unable to make it to the finals. In spite of this he still set a new personal best.

Later he set more records  in the Central American Championships with a time of 21.12 for the 200 metre distance, and again in the Caribbean Junior Championships with a time of 47.12 seconds. Bolt was then awarded a place at Kingston after the Prime Minister noticed his abilities, and he was able to train with the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association.

Bolt entered into the 2002 World Junior Championships where he won the 200 metre distance race. He then became the youngest gold medal winner. In the same year he ran the relay as part of the Jamaican team twice, and both times his team won silver medals. He was then awarded the IAAF Rising Star Award. The following year he won a gold medal for his efforts in the World Youth Championships at the age of just 17.

Bolt’s biggest achievement was in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he won three gold medals for the 200 metres race, 400 metres race and the 4 x 100 metre relays. In 2009 he also won three more gold medals in the World Championships in Germany for the 100 metre, 200 metre and 4 x 100 metre relays.

Bolt then "re-defined everything", by following up that impressive performance with a successful defense of his 200 metres gold medal with a time of 19.32 seconds, followed by fellow Jamaicans second-place Yohan Blake at 19.44 and bronze medalist Warren Weir at 19.84. With this, Bolt became the first man in history to defend both the 100 m and 200 m Olympic sprint titles. In fact, Bolt was so comfortably ahead near the finish that he was able to slow down, put his left finger to his mouth and "tell everyone to shush."

As soon as Bolt crossed the finish line, he did five push-ups, one for each of his Olympic gold medals. Following the race, eighth place finisher Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa compared Bolt to a "ghost" who "disappears in front of you". When asked about his greatness as a sprinter following his victory, Bolt placed himself in the category of Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali, in their respective sports.

Career Highlights

  • 2002 CARFITA Games – Gold (3), Silver (2)
  • 2003 World Youth Championships –  Gold
  • 2003 CARFITA Games – Gold (4)
  • 2004 CARFITA Games – Gold (3)
  • 2005 CAC Championships – Gold
  • 2007 World Championships – Silver (2)
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Gold (3)
  • 2009 World Athletics Final – Gold
  • 2011 World Championships – Gold (2)
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Gold (2, 1 team)

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