Famous Jamaicans: Usain Bolt, the Sprint Legend
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
"It's what I came here to do. I'm now a legend. I'm also the greatest athlete to live. I've got nothing left to prove.” — Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt – How to Win the 100m
Usain explains his 100m running technique, in a step by step breakdown of the methods he's applied to become the world's fastest man:
On Your Marks!
At the start, a good reaction is key because I tend to be a poor starter
If I get a good reaction then that gets me in the race, even if my first couple steps are not quick. For the first 30m, keep your body forward, keep your head down, keep driving, driving, driving! Then start to straighten up, get tall, knees up, shoulders down, that’s when I start to get to top speed. At 50m, check left, check right to make sure of my position in the race. Then I may start listening to the crowds, the cheers... At 60m, that’s when I become a beast really, that’s when I start to dominate a race and I can tell if I’m going to win the race at that point. The majority of the time, I can tell at 60 to 70m if I’m going to win the race because the last 40m of my race is the stronger part of my race. The last 10 to 15m of my race, that’s when I start checking again – check to the right, check to the left. At 10m that’s when I determine if I’ve won, because the last 10m you’re not going to catch me, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how good you are as that last 10m is going to take me three and a half strides to pass the finish line.
This is where the glory begins, you see when I pass the finish line, I do what I want - celebrate, to the world, do crazy stuff. That’s why the crowd loves me as I put my flavor to it – I make them love and enjoy it!
Who Is Usain Bolt?
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (born August 21, 1986) is arguably the fastest man in the world. He won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100-meter and 200-meter races in record times. Bolt also won three Olympic gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. He ran the men's 100-meter race in 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record, making him the first man in history to set three world records in Olympic competition. He made history again at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio when he won gold in the 100-meter and 200-meter race and 4x100-meter relay. Bolt thereby completed a "triple-triple," earning three gold medals at three consecutive Olympics for a total of 9 gold medals over the course of his Olympic career.
The Hon. Usain Bolt was born on 21st August 1986 to parents Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt in Sherwood Content, Trelawny, a small town in Jamaica. His parents ran the local grocery store in the rural area and Bolt spent his time playing cricket and football in the street. Bolt later commented, "When I was young, I didn't think about anything other than sports." His mother described his world record breaking performances as “natural”, noting that he demonstrated tremendous athletic ability from age twelve.
As a child, Bolt attended Waldensia Primary, where he began showing his sprint potential. By the age of twelve, Bolt had become the school's fastest runner over the 100 metres distance. Upon his entry to William Knibb Memorial High School, Bolt continued to focus on other sports. His cricket coach noticed Bolt's speed on the pitch and urged him to try track and field events. Pablo McNeil, a former Olympic sprint athlete, and Dwayne Jarrett both coached Bolt, encouraging him to focus his energy on improving his athletic abilities. The school had a history of success in athletics with past students, including sprinter Michael Green. Bolt won his first annual high school championship medal in 2001; he took the silver medal in the 200 metres with a time of 22.04 seconds. McNeil soon became his primary coach. The two enjoyed a positive partnership, although McNeil was occasionally frustrated by Bolt's lack of dedication to his training and his penchant for practical jokes.
In 2002, Bolt became the youngest World Junior Champion at age 15, when he won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. A year later, he broke the World Junior record in the 200 metres at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada. He performed exceptionally well at the junior and youth levels where he broke all the world records in all age groups in the 200 metres. In fact, he became the first junior to run the 200 metres under 20 seconds at the CARIFTA Games in Hamilton, Bermuda in 2004.
Bolt’s fame heightened in 2008 when he beat his countryman, Asafa Powell’s record of 9.74 in the 100 metres. He set a new world record of 9.72, at the Reebok Grand Prix Meet in New York, USA.
Records and Awards
Bolt is an 11-time world champion. He holds the world records in races: 100 meters, at 9.58 seconds; and 200-meters, at 19.19 seconds. Both records were made at the 2009 Berlin World Athletics Championships. Over the course of his career, Bolt has received numerous awards, including: the IAAF World Athlete of the Year (twice); Track & Field Athlete of the Year; and Laureus Sportsman of the Year. Participating in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 summer Olympic Games, Bolt completed a "triple-triple," with a total of 9 gold medals earned in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4x100-meter relay races. In doing so, Bolt joined two other triple-triple runners: Paavo Nurmi of Finland (1920, 1924 and 1928); and Carl Lewis of the United States (1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996).
In 2017, however, the International Olympic Committee stripped Bolt of one of these medals. The one for the 2008 4x100-meter relay, because his teammate, Nesta Carter was found guilty of a doping violation.
Bolt expresses a love for dancing and he is frequently described as laid-back and relaxed. His Jamaican track and field idols include Herb McKenley and former Jamaican 100m and 200m World record holder, Don Quarrie. Michael Johnson, the former 200 m world and Olympic record holder, is also held in high esteem by Bolt.
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.
In 2010, Bolt also revealed his fondness of music, when he played a reggae DJ set to a crowd in Paris. He is also an avid fan of the Call of Duty video game series, saying, "I stay up late [playing the game online], I can't help it."
Usain published a memoir My Story: 9:58: The World’s Fastest Man in 2010, which was reissued two years later as The Fastest Man Alive: The True Story of Usain Bolt. In his autobiography, Bolt reveals that he has suffered from scoliosis. His condition shows in a curved his spine to the right and which has made his right leg half an inch shorter than his left.
He popularised the "lightning bolt" pose, also known as "to di world" or "bolting", which he used before races and in celebration. The pose consists of extending a slightly raised left arm to the side and the right arm folded across the chest, with both hands have the thumb and index finger outstretched. His performance of the pose during his Olympic and World Championship victories led to widespread copying of the move. The American President Barack Obama copied the "lighting bolt" to small children. It has been suggested that the pose comes from Jamaican dancehall moves of the period; Olympic sprint champion Bernard Williams also had performed similar celebration moves earlier.
Entrepreneurship and Bolt Mobility
Usain Bolt co-founded electric scooter company Bolt Mobility in 2018. The micromobility company provides electric scooters and other yet-to-be released mobility devices. Bolt publicly announced his work with the company in the Bolt Mobility's debut commercial. Bolt appeared in many interviews for the company, alongside CEO Sarah Pishevar Haynes. He made his first public appearance for the company in March of 2019, during the company's New York City launch and in CNBC interviews on the NYSE.
In May 2019, Bolt spoke in Paris at the Viva Technology conference, announcing the company's pending release of the Nano minicar. He also met with French president Emmanuel Macron while at the conference. While in France, Bolt participated in a CNN interview where he revealed his reasons for founding the company.
"I've been to New York, London, Paris and one thing I've noticed is that we all complain about traffic!" Usain Bolt, CNN Interview
Bolt argues that his scooter is different, as it allows bag, shopping and mobile phone storage. The scooters have capabilities to reach up to 30 MPH, but are limited to 15 MPH depending on city regulation. The company begun operations in the U.S., and plans to expand throughout Europe and Asia.
Injury and Retirement from Track & Field
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. It was the first time that Bolt was beaten at a World Athletic Championships since 2007. His struggles didn't end there as in the 4x100-meter relay, Bolt's supposedly final race, he collapsed from a hamstring injury. He then crossed the finish line with the help of his teammates.
In August 2017, following the World Athletic Championships, Bolt announced his retirement from track and field. “For me I don’t think one championship is going to change what I’ve done,” he said at a press conference. “I personally won’t be one of those persons to come back.”
Biography, Usain Bolt Biography, https://www.biography.com/athlete/usain-bolt
Famous Jamaicans: Jimmy Cliff, the Music Legend, https://www.jamaicasonice.com/post/famous-jamaicans-jimmy-cliff-the-music-legend
Usain Bolt - How To Win The 100m, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLWejYWjANM
Famous Jamaican, Usain St. Leo Bolt, https://jis.gov.jm/information/famous-jamaicans/usain-st-leo-bolt/
Usain Bolt, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt