Usain Bolt


Born: 21 August 1986
Birthplace: Trelawny, Jamaica
Best known as: The Jamaican sprinter who won 100- and 200-meter gold medals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics

Usain Bolt became famous as the world's fastest man in 2008, the year he ran the 100 meters in a spectacular 9.69 seconds at the Beijing Olympic Games. Born in Jamaica, Usain Bolt was a speedster from the start: he was only 15 when he won a gold medal in the 200 meters at the 2002 World Junior Championships. He turned pro in 2004 and ran in the Olympics that year, but injuries and a genetic curvature of his spine delayed his development. In 2008, healthy and grown to a height of 6'5" tall, he exploded onto the scene by breaking the world record for the 100 meters with a run of 9.72 seconds in New York City on May 31st. At the Summer Olympics three months later, Bolt won three gold medals in the 100 meters (9.69 seconds), 200 meters (19.30 seconds), and 4x100 meter relay (37.10 seconds), all world-record times. Bolt gained almost as much fame for how he finished the 100 meters: easing up to raise his arms and pound his chest in celebration even before he crossed the finish line. The next year, in Berlin, he ran the 100 meters in a stunning 9.58 for a new record, more than a tenth of a second faster than anyone else had ever run the race. In 2012 he again won Olympic gold in the 100 meters (with a time of 9.63 seconds) and in the 200 meters (with a time of 19.32 seconds). Usain Bolt is known for his speed both on and off the track: he survived crashes while driving BMWs in 2009 and 2012.

Extra credit:

Usain Bolt is 6’5″ tall (or 1.95 meters), according to his official site… Bolt’s 9.72 in the 100 meters in 2008 broke the record of a fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell, who had run 9.74 in 2007… Bolt was born with scoliosis, a curvature of the lower spine, making his running exploits all the more remarkable. “My spine’s really curved bad. But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis doesn’t really bother me,” he told ESPN Magazine in 2011.

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