Usain St. Leo Bolt is the fastest man ever to roam the planet Earth.
Born in Sherwood Content, Trelawny, Jamaica on this day in 1986, he thought about nothing other than sports as a child and spent much of his time playing futbol and cricket. He took to track and began opening eyes with his lightning speed, competing as a young teen in regional and national meets in Jamaica. He attended William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny and won his first medal, a bronze, in the 80 meter hurdles at a meet at his high school. He won a silver medal in the 200 meters with a time of 22.04 at the “Champs” high school meet and ran 48.28 in the 400 meters in a regional meet in 2001. Later that year, he ran a personal best 21.73 in the IAAF World Youth Championships in Hungary but failed to make the finals. He grew to 6’5” tall by the age of 15 and two years later won four gold medals in the 2003 CARIFTA Games while being named most outstanding athlete of the competition. He won the Jamaican High School Championships in 2003, breaking records in the 200 and 400 and equaled the world junior record at the Pan-Am Junior Championships. Bolt is one of only eight athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior and senior level of an athletic event.
“Lightning Bolt” turned pro in 2004 and took the world junior record in the 200 with a time of 19.93. He qualified for the Jamaican Olympic team but was eliminated in the first round of the 200 in Athens due to a leg injury. He began working with a new coach, Greg Mills, and improved steadily but injuries hampered him in 2005 and 2006. His confidence improved when he won two silver medals at the 2007 World Championships and in May of2008 he set a new world record in the 100. He decided to drop the 400 from his schedule in order to concentrate on the 100, 200 and sprint relays. His decision paid off at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where he won gold in the 100 while setting a new world record [9.69]. Four days later and on the eve of his 22nd birthday, he won gold in the 200, also in world record time [19.30] and capped his Games off by running the third leg of the 4 x 100 relay and winning another gold while shattering the world record.
Mr. Bolt continued his dominance in the sprinting events, winning three gold medals at the 2009 World Championships and two more at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu. He entered the 2012 London Olympics as the favorite and with good reason, as he became the first man to successfully defend his sprint title in the 100 since Carl Lewis [Daily Dose, August 6] in 1988 by setting a new Olympic record. He followed that up by leading a Jamaican sweep of the 200, winning gold in the process and, on the final day of track events at the London Games, won gold in the 4 x 100 relay in a world record time of 36.84. Bolt had completed the “Double Triple” by winning three gold medals in the same events in two consecutive Olympics. He then won three more gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, making him the most successful athlete in the 30 year history of that event.
Usain Bolt has won six Olympic and eight World Championship gold medals. He holds the world record in the 100 and 200 meters and has been named IAAF World Male Athlete of the Year. He has been awarded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year three times and is the highest paid track and field athlete of all time. In February of this year, Bolt announced that he intends to retire from athletics after the 2017 World Championships in London.