Photo: Augustas Didžgalvis / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Born: August 21, 1986
Age: 33 years
Born Place: Sherwood Content, Jamaica
Olympic medals: Athletics at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Men’s 4 × 100 metres relay
Height: 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Nickname: Lightning Bolt
Sport: Track and field
Usain St Leo Bolt, OJ, CD (born 21 August 1986) is a Jamaican former sprinter and widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. He is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay.
An eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Bolt is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016). He also won two 4 × 100 relay gold medals. He gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the first person to hold both records since fully automatic time became mandatory.
An eleven-time World Champion, he won consecutive World Championship 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 metres relay gold medals from 2009 to 2015, with the exception of a 100 m false start in 2011. He is the most successful athlete of the World Championships. Bolt is the first athlete to win four World Championship titles in the 200 m and is one of the most successful in the 100 m with three titles.
Bolt improved upon his second 100 m world record of 9.69 with 9.58 seconds in 2009 – the biggest improvement since the start of electronic timing. He has twice broken the 200 metres world record, setting 19.30 in 2008 and 19.19 in 2009. He has helped Jamaica to three 4 × 100 metres relay world records, with the current record being 36.84 seconds set in 2012. Bolt’s most successful event is the 200 m, with three Olympic and four World titles. The 2008 Olympics was his international debut over 100 m; he had earlier won numerous 200 m medals (including 2007 World Championship silver) and holds the world under-20 and world under-18 records for the event.
His achievements as a sprinter have earned him the media nickname “Lightning Bolt”, and his awards include the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year (three times) and Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (four times). Bolt retired after the 2017 World Championships, when he finished third in his last solo 100 m race, opted out of the 200 m, and pulled up in the 4×100 m relay final.
Stating that it was his “dream” to play professional football, in August 2018, Bolt began training with A-League club the Central Coast Mariners as a left-winger. On 12 October 2018, Bolt scored twice for the team in a friendly match. He left the club the following month, and in January 2019 chose not to pursue a career in football.
Bolt was born on 21 August 1986 to parents Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt in Sherwood Content, a small town in Jamaica. He has a brother, Sadiki, and a sister, Sherine. His parents ran the local grocery store in the rural area, and Bolt spent his time playing cricket and football in the street with his brother, later saying, “When I was young, I didn’t really think about anything other than sports.”As a child, Bolt attended Waldensia Primary, where he began showing his sprint potential when he ran in his parish’s annual national primary school meet. 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, but 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 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 championships 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, and 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.
When Bolt was a boy, he attended Sherwood Content Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trelawny, Jamaica, with his mother. His mother did not serve pork to him in accordance with Adventist beliefs.
Bolt expresses a love for dancing and his character is frequently described as laid-back and relaxed. His Jamaican track and field idols include Herb McKenley and former Jamaican 100 m and 200 m 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. His middle name is St. Leo.
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.”
In his autobiography, Bolt reveals that he has suffered from scoliosis, a condition that has curved his spine to the right and has made his right leg 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) shorter than his left. A result of this is that his left leg remains on the ground 14 percent longer than his right leg, with left leg striking the ground with a force of 955 lbf (4,250 N) and right with 1,080 lbf (4,800 N). Biomechanics researchers have studied, with no firm conclusions, whether this asymmetry has helped or hurt Bolt in his sprinting career.
He popularised the “lightning bolt” pose, also known as “to di world” or “bolting”, which he used both 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, from American President Barack Obama to small children. It has been suggested that the pose comes from Jamaican dancehall moves of the period, though Olympic sprint champion Bernard Williams also had performed similar celebration moves earlier that decade.
Bolt’s personal best of 9.58 seconds in 2009 in the 100 metres is the fastest ever run. Bolt also holds the second fastest time of 9.63 seconds, the current Olympic record, and set two previous world records in the event. Bolt’s personal best of 19.19 s in the 200 metres is the world record. This was recorded at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin against a headwind of −0.3 m/s. This performance broke his previous world record in the event, his 19.30 s clocking in winning the 2008 Olympic 200 metres title.
Bolt has been on three world-record-setting Jamaican relay teams. The first record, 37.10 seconds, was set in winning gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics, although the result was voided in 2017 when the team was disqualified. The second record came at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, a time of 37.04 seconds. The third world record was set at the 2012 Summer Olympics, a time of 36.84 seconds.
Bolt also holds the 200 metres world teenage best results for the age categories 15 (20.58 s), 16 (20.13 s, world youth record), 17 (19.93 s) and 18 (19.93 s, world junior record). He also holds the 150 metres world best set in 2009, during which he ran the last 100 metres in 8.70 seconds, the quickest timed 100 metres ever.
Bolt completed a total of 53 wind-legal sub-10-second performances in the 100 m during his career, with his first coming on 3 May 2008 and his last on 5 August 2017 at the World Championships. His longest undefeated streak in the 200 m was in 17 finals, lasting from 12 June 2008 to 3 September 2011. He also had a win-streak covering 14 100 m finals from 16 August 2008 to 16 July 2010.
Guinness World Records
Bolt claimed 19 Guinness World Records, and, after Michael Phelps, holds second highest number of accumulative Guinness World Records for total number of accomplishments and victories in the sport.
- Fastest run 150 metres (male)
- Most medals won at the IAAF Athletics World Championships (male)
- Most gold medals won at the IAAF Athletics World Championships (male)
- Most Athletics World Championships Men’s 200 m wins
- Most consecutive Olympic gold medals won in the 100 metres (male)
- Most consecutive Olympic gold medals won in the 200 metres (male)
- Most Olympic men’s 200 metres Gold medals
- Fastest run 200 metres (male)
- Most Men’s IAAF World Athlete of Year Trophies
- First Olympic track sprint triple-double
- Highest annual earnings for a track athlete
- Most wins of the 100 m sprint at the Olympic Games
- First athlete to win the 100 m and 200 m sprints at successive Olympic Games
- Fastest run 100 metres (male)
- First man to win the 200 m sprint at successive Olympic Games
- Most Athletics World Championships Men’s 100 m wins
- Most tickets sold at an IAAF World Championships
- Most competitive 100 m sprint races completed in sub 10 seconds
- Fastest relay 4×100 metres (male)