Championships began, a leading bio-mechanic made news by announcing that Usain Bolt’s 100m time of 9.58 seconds, which made him the fastest person ever, had been a freak occurrence.
A number of factors had played a part in it, including age. So the chances of the then 26-year-old dictating terms to the rest of his field were slim.
Yet this was what he had done in some of the greatest arenas - the Olympics and the World Championships.
The artistes who had ushered in running’s age of glory had faded. Jamaica rocked by a doping scandal that had netted high-profile names was not the “running cradle” it once used to be. The sport’s renaissance was over.
Until Bolt, totally unaffected by the rot surrounding him, set ablaze the Moscow championship by breezing his way to three gold medals, one in each of the three events (100m, 200m and 4x100m) that he participated in.
Against this troubled backdrop, Bolt’s show of dominance which helped him match the eight gold won by Michael Johnson and Carl Lewis respectively at the World Championships assured him a place among the greats.
Indeed, he is the greatest of all time.
Bolt last Sunday became the most successful athlete in the history of the World Championships after guiding Jamaica to victory in the sprint relay in Moscow. The 27-year-old added 4x100m gold to his 100m and 200m triumphs and now has a total of eight gold medals and two silvers.
Carl Lewis and Allyson Felix also have 10 medals but have eight gold medals, one silver and a bronze respectively.
Bolt’s latest triumph meant he joined Americans Michael Johnson, Felix and Lewis on a record-equalling eight world titles overall. The 100m and 200m world record holder also secured a sprint triple in World Championships for the second time, matching the trebles he completed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
“It is just great,” Bolt said of the comparison. “I’ll continue dominating. I’ll continue to work hard. For me, my aim is to continue into the greatness thing.”
‘I must be truthful, it’s been a different championships,’ Bolt said. ‘It’s not been the best. Over the days it got better.
‘They changed a few things and people got more relaxed, more people started smiling and there were more people in the stands.
‘It picked up at the end so I will have to say seven out of 10. I’m just being real. The food was always the same. I’m used to seeing the stadium rammed and absolutely packed.
‘The fact people could get close to you real easily was different. They were little things. There are a lot of women, a lot of beautiful women, so I will definitely tell my friends about that. I don’t know how to celebrate. I think I should [go to Moscow and see beautiful ladies,’ he said.
Born as Usain St. Leo Bolt on August 21 1986, in Sherwood Content, a small town in Trelawny, Jamaica, and grew up with his parents, Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt, his brother Sadiki, and his sister Sherine. 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 first began to show his sprinting potential, running in the annual national primary-schools’ meeting for his parish. By the age of 12, he had become the school’s fastest runner over the 100 metres distanceUpon 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.
Bolt is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977. Although he’s more famous as a 100 m undisputed champion he is actually a more accomplished 200m runner.
While he hadn’t won any significant 100 m title prior to the 2008 Olympics, he had already bagged numerous crowns in the 200 m event at the youth, junior and senior levels before gaining worldwide popularity with his sprint double victory at the Beijing Games.
His achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname “Lightning Bolt”, and awards including the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and Laureus Sportsman of the Year (three times).
He is the highest paid athlete ever in track and field. He has been called the world’s most marketable athlete. By bagging three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, Bolt became the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the prestigious world championships.
Bolt’s Golden Collection
100m: 2008, 2012 Olympics; 2009, 2013 World Championships
200m: 2008, 2012 Olympics; 2009, 2011, 2013 World Championships
4x100m: 2008, 2012 Olympics; 2009, 2011, 2013 World Championships.