Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

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Usain Bolt
Event sprints
Born August 21, 1986 at Trelawny, Jamaica
High School Wm Knibb
College University of Technology, Jamaica
Coach Glen Mills
Club Puma

Usain Bolt (1986-) is a Jamaican sprinter.[1] He is the reigning Olympic champion over 100 metrers and holds both world record in a time of 9.58 and Olympic 100 meter records with a time of 9.69 seconds. Bolt is also the world junior record holder in the 200 metres (19.93 seconds), and Jamaican national record holder in the 200 metres (19.67 seconds). His name and achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname "Lightning Bolt".[2] He is the first person since Carl Lewis to win the gold medal in both the 100M and the 200M in the same Olympics.


Early life

Bolt was born in Trelawny, Jamaica,[3] to Jennifer and Wellesley Bolt.[4] Bolt's talent for athletics was evident even as a child, impressing in the annual, national primary schools' meeting for his parish. Upon his entry to William Knibb Memorial High School, Pablo McNeil and Dwayne Barrett coached Bolt, encouraging him to focus his energies on track and field. The school had a history of athletic success with past students including Michael Green.[2] Bolt won his first annual high school championships medal in 2001, winning the silver medal in the 200 metres with a time of 22.04 seconds.[2]

Performing in his first Caribbean national event, Bolt clocked a personal best of 48.28 seconds in the 400 metres in the 2001 CARIFTA games, earning himself a silver medal.[5] The 200 metres also yielded a silver as Bolt finished in 21.81 seconds. Bolt made his first appearance on the world stage at the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Running in the 200 metres event, he failed to qualify for the finals but he still set a new personal best of 21.73 seconds.[6] Bolt really made his mark in 2002, winning both 200 and 400 metres events in the High School Championships, CARIFTA Games and Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships.[2] Bolt smashed the championship records for both 200 and 400 metres in the 2002 CARIFTA games with a 21.12 seconds finish and 47.33 seconds respectively.[5] More 200 and 400 metres records fell in the face of the prodigious sprinter with 20.61 seconds and 47.12 seconds finishes at the CAC Junior Championships.[7]

Rise to prominence

The 2002 World Junior Championships, in front of a home crowd in Kingston, Jamaica, offered Bolt a chance to showcase his talent to the world. By the age of 15 Bolt had grown to an intimidating 6 foot-5 inches (1.95 m) tall and he physically stood out amongst his peers. Size was not the only distinction as he outran the competition in the 200 metres, winning gold for his 20.61 seconds performance and setting a new personal best.[8] Bolt also shone in the Jamaican sprint relay team, getting two silver medals and setting two national junior records in the 4x100 metres and 4x400 metres with 39.15 seconds and 3:04.06 minutes respectively.[9][10] Bolt's 200 metres win made him the youngest world junior gold medallist ever.[11] The flow of medals continued as he won another gold at the 2003 World Youth Championships. He set a new championship record in the 200 metres with 20.40 seconds, paying no heed to a punishing 1.1m/s head wind.[12]

Bolt turned his main focus on the 200 metres and the move proved fruitful as he equalled Roy Martin's world junior record of 20.13 seconds at the Pan-American Junior Championships.[2][13] In his final Jamaican High School Championships in 2003 Bolt's times were unprecedented. The competition was no problem for the prodigy from Falmouth as he finished the 200 metres in 20.25 seconds, casting the previous record aside by a margin of 0.57 seconds. The 400 metres bore similar results as he breezed past the finish line in 45.30 seconds to beat the old record of 46.17 seconds. As the reigning 200 metres champion of both the World Youth and World Junior championships, Bolt aimed to take a full sweep of the World 200 metres championships in the forthcoming Senior World Championships in Paris. However, Bolt missed out on the achievement as he was struck down with a bout of conjunctivitis before the event, ruining his training schedule and causing him to withdraw.[2]

Professional athletics career

Under the guidance of a new coach Fitz Coleman, Bolt turned professional in 2004 and his performances continued to impress, beginning with the CARIFTA games in Bermuda.[2] He became the first junior sprinter to run the 200 m in under 20 seconds, breaking Roy Martin's world junior record by two tenths of a second with 19.93 seconds.[2][11] Bolt headed to the 2004 Summer Olympics with confidence and a new record on his side. However, he was happered by a leg injury and he was eliminated in the first round of the 200 metres with a disappointing 21.05 seconds.[1]

Bolt had mixed results in 2005. He scored his 200 metres season's best at London's Crystal Palace in July, running 19.99 seconds.[1] Misfortune awaited Bolt at the next major event: the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. Bolt qualified comfortably with runs under 21 seconds but he suffered an injury in the final, finishing last with a time of 26.27 seconds.[14] Eighteen-year-old Bolt still had not proved his mettle in the major world athletics competitions but his performances showed his potential. Bolt soon recovered and continued to improve, reaching the world top 5 rankings in 2005 and 2006.[2] He ran 19.88 seconds, a new personal best, at the 2006 Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland, finishing behind Xavier Carter and Tyson Gay to earn a bronze medal.[15] Bolt claimed his first major world medal two months later at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany. Bolt ran a 20.10 seconds, gaining a bronze medal in the process.[1] Further 200 metres honours on both the regional and international scale awaited Bolt in 2007. In the Jamaican Championships he ran 19.75 seconds in the 200 metres, breaking the 36-year-old national record held by Don Quarrie by 0.11 seconds. He built on this achievement at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, finishing behind American Tyson Gay to win a silver medal.[1]

Shift to the 100M

Bolt decided to experiment with sprinting distances and entered to run in the 100 metres event at the Jamaica Invitational. On 3 May 2008 Bolt ran 9.76 seconds with a strong tail wind (+1.8 m/s), then the second fastest legal performance in the history of the event, behind compatriot Asafa Powell. Later that month, on 31 May 2008, Bolt ran 9.72 seconds, assisted by another strong tailwind (+1.7 m/s), establishing a new world record in the 100 metres at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York, breaking the 9.74 seconds record set by Powell.[16] This was made even more remarkable by the fact that this was only his 5th senior run over the distance.[17] On the 13 July 2008 in Athens, Greece, Bolt once again broke the 200 metres national record by running 19.67 seconds.

As the new 100 metres world record holder, Bolt arrived at the Beijing Summer Olympics as the favourite in both the 100 and 200 metres. On 16 August 2008, after having finished comfortably his 100 metres quarter-finals and semifinals in 9.92 and 9.85 seconds respectively, Bolt won the Olympic 100 metres final in 9.69 seconds with no wind assistance (+0.0 m/s), well ahead of second place finisher Richard Thompson, who finished in 9.89 seconds, shattering his own world record.[18][19][20] Not only was his mark made with no tailwind, indicating the quality of his performance, but he appeared to slow down and celebrate near the finish line after looking to his right and realizing he had secured the gold medal after he had run past the 80-metre line.[21] In addition, his left shoelace came undone.[22][23]

Exactly one year after his record setting 100m Olympic performance, Bolt set a stunning new world record at the 2009 World Athletics Championships final in Berlin. Leading from the start, Usain Bolt became the first man to run under 9.6 in the 100m, with an official time of 9.58 and a legal wind of +0.9. This race was a highly anticipated match-up between Bolt, American Tyson Gay, and fellow Jamaican and former world record holder Asafa Powell. [24]

Video (YouTube - 9.58 NEW WORLD RECORD - 100 meter):

He is coached by Glen Mills and currently attends the University of Technology, Jamaica.[25][26]

Endorsement deal

After winning the 200 m title in the World Junior Championships in front of his home crowd in Jamaica in 2002, Bolt was quickly signed up by Puma, in the process becoming one of the company's leading athletes.[27] To promote Bolt's chase for Olympic glory in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Puma has released a series of videos showcasing Bolt's world-record-setting run in the Reebok Grand Prix to his preparations for the Olympics.[28] During the Beijing 2008 100m final, Bolt wore golden Puma spikes that read 'Beijing 100m Gold'.

Personal bests

Date Event Venue Time (seconds)
16 August, 2009 100 metres Berlin, Germany 9.58 File:World record icon.svg
13 July 2008 200 metres Athens, Greece 19.67 – National Record
5 May 2007 400 metres Kingston, Jamaica 45.28


Bolt has 6 sub-10 seconds finishes in the 100 metres and 12 sub-20 seconds finishes in the 200 metres.

Year Tournament Venue Result Event Time (seconds)
2002 World Junior Championships Kingston, Jamaica 1st 200 metres 20.61
2002 World Junior Championships Kingston, Jamaica 2nd 4 × 100 m relay 39.15 NJR
2002 World Junior Championships Kingston, Jamaica 2nd 4 × 400 m relay 3:04.06 NJR
2003 World Youth Championships Sherbrooke, Canada 1st 200 metres 20.40
2004 Carifta Games Hamilton, Bermuda 1st 200 metres 19.93 WJR
2005 Central American and Caribbean Championships Nassau, Bahamas 1st 200 metres 20.03
2007 World Championships in Athletics Osaka, Japan 2nd 200 metres 19.91
2008 Reebok Grand Prix New York City, United States 1st 100 metres 9.72 (WR)
2008 Beijing Olympics Beijing, China 1st 100 metres 9.69 (WR)
2008 Beijing Olympics Beijing, China 1st 200 metres 19.30 (WR)
2009 World Championships in Athletics Berlin, Germany 1st 100 metres 9.58 (WR)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Usain Bolt IAAF profile. IAAF. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Lawrence, Hubert; Samuels, Garfield. "Focus on Jamaica - Usain Bolt", Focus on Athletes, International Association of Athletics Federations, 2007-08-20. Retrieved on 2008-06-01.
  3. Helps, Horace (2008-08-16). Bolt's gold down to yam power, father says. Reuters. Retrieved on 2008-08-16.
  4. Layden, Tim (2008-08-16). The Phenom. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Carifta Games (Under 17 boys). GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  6. Official Results - 200 metres - Men - Semi-Final. IAAF (2001-07-14). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  7. Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  8. Official Results - 200 metres - Men - Final. IAAF (2002-07-19). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  9. Official Results - 4x100 metres - Men - Final. IAAF (2002-07-22). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  10. 4x400 metres - Men - Final. IAAF (2002-07-22). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Longmore, Andrew (2008-08-16). 9.69 - and Usain Bolt didn't even try. The Times. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  12. 200 metres final results. IAAF (2003-07-23). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  13. American Junior Outdoor Track & Field Records. USA Track and Field (2008-08-01). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  14. 200 metres final. IAAF (2005-08-11). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  15. Liu eclipses Jackson with 110m hurdles record. The Guardian (2006-06-12). Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  16. "Bolt strikes for 100m world record at New York meeting", New York City, New York: Agence France-Presse, 2008-06-01. Retrieved on 2008-06-01.
  17. Broadbent, Rick (2008-06-02). Usain Bolt runs into indifference. The Times. Retrieved on 2008-08-16.
  18. Bolt surges to gold in new record. BBC Sport. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  19. Denyer, Simon (2008-08-16). Athletics - Sharp as lightning, Bolt brings glamour back. Reuters. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
  20. Fendrich, Howard. Bolt breaks 100-meter record, wins Olympic gold. The Associated Press. Google News. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  21. « Usain Bolt rewrote the record books »,, August 16 2008.
  22. Casert, Raf. Olympics: Bolt smashes 100m record. New Zealand Herald. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  23. Mostruoso Bolt: record con la scarpa slacciata (Italian). 16 August 2008.
  24. retrieved 16 August 2009
  25. Hersh, Philip. Usain Bolt gives Jamaica its first Olympic sprint champion. Los Angeles Times. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  26. Channer, Colin. 'Cool Runnings' Are Heating Up. Wall Street Journal. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  27. Weiner, Jay. "Usain Bolt blazes to top of 100-meter lore", Sporting news.

External links