• Jacqueline Cameron

Famous Jamaicans: Usain Bolt, Now a Family Man and Still a Legend

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Famous Jamaicans, Jamaican People, Jamaica Attractions, Jamaican Culture

“Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.” - Usain Bolt

I have followed Bolt throughout his running career and have found that when Bolt runs, I run also – Jackie, Jamaica and the world is backing Bolt. People come together in town squares, homes, venues, shops… to cheer Bolt. What excitement, hearing cheers erupt across my community and Jamaica when Bolt wins a race. This is good for Jamaica and the world, as Usain is such a likeable person that everyone wants him to win.

Who Is Usain Bolt?

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt 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.

"To De World!"

"Bolt was born relatively poor in terms of economics, but was rich, was rich with talent, rich with life, rich with substance; and to see somebody like that rise to win an Olympic gold medal, like that was what the world needed!" - Chronixx

"I found the drive and I was relentless in the want to become the greatest, so for me it was like, I found it, I did it, it took a lot of hard work and guts and focus and concentration. It's not easy, people feel like it's simple and I had to remind myself at this stage that you have a goal for yourself and if you don't win this year, then all you have done doesn't really matter and that's one of the things that kept me going." - Usain Bolt in Rio 2016

Early Years

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 meters 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 meters 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.

Usain Bolt first gained attention as a track prodigy at the 2002 World Junior Championships. Racing before a crowd of 36,000 in Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston, Bolt won a gold medal in the 200-meter race. He was just 15 years old at the time becoming the youngest-ever male world junior champion in any event.

At age 16 Bolt cut the junior (age 19 and under) 200-meter world record to 20.13 seconds, and at age 17 he ran the event in 19.93 seconds, becoming the first teenager to break 20 seconds in the race. However, hampered by a hamstring injury, he failed to advance beyond the 200-meter heats at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and placed last in the 2005 world track-and-field championships final.

At 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 meters) tall, Bolt defied the conventional wisdom that very tall sprinters are disadvantaged as fast starters. In 2007 he appeared newly dedicated to his training and earned a silver medal in the 200 meters at the World Championships. He also persuaded his coach to let him try the 100 meters, and he ran 10.03 seconds in his first professional race at the distance. On May 3, 2008, he lowered his best time to 9.76 seconds, then the world’s second fastest mark. Four weeks later in New York City, Bolt broke the world record, running 9.72 seconds to defeat world champion Tyson Gay.

"When Usain Bolt win a race, de whole world feel like dem win a race!" - Chronixx

"It's the dream of every coach to have a talented athlete, and to have one as talented as Bolt is extra special!" - Glen Mills

Records and Awards

Bolt is an 11-times 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 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.

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.”

Usain Bolt's 10 Rules For Success