Usain St Leo Bolt is known as the ‘most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen’ and this was confirmed when he won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China.
At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Usain became the first man in Olympic history to win the 100m and 200m races in World Record times and then played a role in the 4x100m team that shattered the World Record. To many watching, it was just a dream of a young boy in Jamaica hoping to make an Olympic team and go on to win, and not just an overnight sensation.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Usain had lightning speed from the moment he began running at fourteen. He amazed people with his speed and competed at regional champs in western Jamaica and national meets anywhere from Kingston to the wider Caribbean.
Usain Bolt began is running career with an unlikely event, the 80 hurdles in Class Three at Western Champs held on the campus of his Alma Mater William Knibb Memorial High in Marth Brae, Trelawny; where he received a bronze medal.
Towering over his peers even at this young age, he was entered in the high jump event and played cricket being a fast bowler. In 2002, at the Western Champs finals at Catherine Hall he sailed his way to a 20.3 second win in the 200m. In the same year, he won the 200m and 400m double at CARIFTA Trials and then went on to win four gold medals in Nassau, Bahamas. In front of the biggest crown ever to watch the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Junior Championships in Kingston, he won the only host nation’s individual gold medal in the 200m, running it in 20.61 seconds. Usain left meet with three medals-two silver in the relays, anchoring the 4x100m and 4x400m. Usain is also the recipient of two IAFF Rising Star awards.
In 2004, Usain turned professional under his new coach, Fitz Coleman. But, Usain’s career wasn’t always great results; several injuries had slowed him down throughout his career. In Bermuda in 2004, after winning the 200m and breaking the World Junior Record, Usain suffered a hamstring injury. Missing the ‘Jamaican party’ in 2006 at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, he experienced another hamstring injury during his leg in the 4x400m relay. Fortunately for his team, Jamaican runners swept all the sprint events at the meet. At the Athens Olympics, he was stopped by another hamstring injury in the first round of the 200m and came through in a time of 21.05. After his showing in the Olympics, American colleges were offering Usain track scholarships left and right. He refused all of them because he was content training in his home of Kingston, at the University of Technology, Jamaica.
In 2005, Usain decided upon a new coach, Glen Mills and gained a new attitude and appreciation to athletics. Later in 2006, he recovered from his hamstring injuries and took second in the 200m at the IAFF World Cup of Athletics, held in Stuttgart, Germany. He became the first junior sprinter to go under 20 seconds in the 200m. In 2007 at the World Championship in Osaka, Japan, Usain broke the National 200m Record of over thirty years, being held by Donald Quarrie. He also won two silver medals in the 200m and 4x100m relay. This boosted his desire to run and began to take it more seriously. Usain and Glen began to concentrate more on the 100m and the development of the race began to take shape. In the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, he ran a time of 9.76-aided by tail wind of 1.8m/s; which was an improvement of his previous time of 10.03. This was the second fastest legal time in history of the event. Rival Tyson Gay applauded his performance and praised Usain’s technique. Michael Johnson who was also in the crowd stated that he was shocked how one could improve so quickly in the 100m. Usain was very pleased, yet Coach Glen was confident there was more to come.
Coach Glen was right; Usain competed at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City in 2008 and ran a time of 9.72 with a tail wind of 1.7m/s—which broke Powell’s record. This was only Usain’s fifth time running the event. All of this led Usain to a more confident running schedule and more focused practices, even though Usain was facing criticism for his laziness because he did not want to run the 400m, a longer event.
The 2008 Olympic Games were approaching and Usain announced that he would run both the 100m and 200m, and was picked to win both. The 200m and 400m record holder, Michael Johnson supported Usain saying that he did not believe his lack of experience would work against him. Usain ran a time of 9.92 seconds in quarter-finals and 9.85 seconds in semifinals. The time for Usain to shine was upon him, and he didn’t look back. In the finals he broke new ground, winning in 9.69 seconds with second place Richard Thompson who finished in 9.89 seconds. Not only was the record set with +0.0m/s wind, but he without a doubt slowed down to celebrate his win before he crossed the finish line.
After the win in the 100m, it was then time to refocus on the 200m, attempting to emulate Carl Lewis’ double win in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The next day, he won Jamaica’s fourth gold at the Olympics with a new World and Olympic record of 19.30 seconds. He was the first sprinter since Quarrie to hold both 100m and 200m world records simultaneously and the first since the introduction of electronic timing.
2009, Usain won the 100m, 200, and 4x100m relay at the World Championship in Germany. 2010 was also a successful year, he ran the fourth-fastest run of all time with a 19.56 seconds. Usain made an attempt to break Michael Johnson’s best time in the 300m event at the Golden Spike; which he failed to accomplish with running in wet weather which left him with an Achilles tendon problem. Returning to race a month later, Usain met with rival Tyson Gay at Athletissima meeting in Lausanne. This is Usain’s second loss of his career; his first was in the same stadium where Powell had beaten Bolt for the first time two years earlier. By winning three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, Usain became one of the most successful athletes in the 30-year history of the worlds championship. In February 2015, Usain announced that he attends to retire from athletics after the 2017 World Championships in London. Usain is available for public appearances, sporting events and sports clinics.
APPEARANCES: ESPN, ESPY Awards, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Late Show with David Letterman, Live with Regis and Kelly, Top Gear
BOOKS: 9.58 My Story
TO WORK WITH USAIN BOLT: Celebrity track star Usain Bolt can be hired for endorsements and events in roles such as corporate appearances, endorsements, speaking and autograph signing.