Hailed as being the only man, after fellow Jamaican Carl Lewis, to have won all the three short distance races in Olympics, Usain Bolt is also the only man in the history to have held the world records for the 100, 200, and the 4x100 meters relay races to become the worlds fastest man.Holding the world records for 100 meters at 9.69 seconds, 200 meters at 19.30 seconds and the 4x100 meters relay at 37.10 seconds (along with his team mates), Usain Bolt has definitely bolstered, and proved his image as being the worlds fastest man. Anther interesting fact about all these records is that they were all set in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Owing to some great performances in sprinting and related race events, the worlds fastest man has earned himself the nickname- “lightning bolt”, from the media and fellow journalists.
Born in Trelawney, Jamaica, on 21st August, 1986, Usain was a natural born sportsman. He spent most of his time playing cricket and football, while his parents ran a grocery shop in the rural part of the town. Usain was a fast runner right from his school days, where he became the fastest 100m runner, and went on to win many other track events at the school level. Bolt was noticed first by his cricket coach, while he was running on the pitch.
Bolt’s winning performances in the World Junior Championship in 2002 had made him stand out. At the age of 15, by winning the 200m event, Bolt had become the youngest ever gold medal winner in the world. After giving dazzling performances in the 2003 Youth World meets, Bolt had caught the eyes of prominent athletes and the likes of Michael Johnson had started to recognize his potential. On the basis of a great and telling record at the junior levels, the worlds fastest man, as we know him today, was awarded the ‘rising star’ award by the IAAF in the year 2003.
Starting his professional career under the aegis of Fitz Coleman in the CARIFTA games in Bermuda, held in 2004, Bolt broke Martin’s record of 200m sprint to become the youngest junior and was consequently chosen for the Jamaican Olympic squad for 2004. Just when the Olympics were around the corner, Bolt had suffered an injury, and was out of the first round of the 200m sprints. The worlds fastest man was able to complete the distance in 21.2 seconds- too slow according to Olympic standards.
In 2005, Bolt started afresh under the new coach Glenn Mills. Mills was adamant on changing the way the worlds fastest man had been approaching his athletics till then and wanted him to look at his sprinting more professionally. His policies worked, and Usain worked up his best time of 19.99 seconds at London’s Crystal Palace meet. Bolt had suffered a few injuries after this event, which had made him a suspect for the Olympics. His injuries during the Commonwealth Games in 2006 had made many eyebrows stand up. His coach then decided to put his 400m training on hold, and prepare his body for flexibility and add certain routines that would help to make his muscles more nimble.
Bolt’s dream of finishing under 20 seconds in the 200m events became true in the 2006 Grand Prix meet at Switzerland. The IAAF cup in Greece, Athens, merely two months later, gave Bolt a silver medal- his first at the senior level. He had arrived at the world arena when he ended up with two silver medals in the Osaka games in 2007. From then on, the desire for a gold medal kept pushing the worlds fastest man forward, and it was in the Olympics in 2008, that he set all the three world records of speed, breaking his own speed record performances, which he had set only a few months back at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City.
This young athlete from Jamaica has achieved laurels for his coach and his team over the years, and at times, he has surprised even himself with his lightening fast performances. His coach, observers and critics of the sport claim that the worlds fastest man has just begun and there is a lot more that he can achieve in the coming events.