Usain Bolt: One of The Greatest of Our Time

As Usain Bolt’s retirement loomed over our heads, there was a bittersweet anticipation building up towards his final 100m sprint performance. The world was shocked to find that he had lost to Justin Gatlin in a race that we had hoped would nicely conclude his epic running career. Despite this shortcoming, Bolt deserves the upmost respect and recognition for his ground breaking achievements.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Bolt’s natural speed quickly set him apart from his peers. The undeniable length of his strides quickly transitioned him from a cricket player to a sprinter as encouraged by his coaches. As young as 14, Bolt won his first medal in his high school championships, taking home the silver in the 200m race. At age 15 Bolt, participated in the 2002 World Junior Championships in Jamaica where he won the title as the youngest world-junior gold medallist ever. Since then, breaking records became second nature to him.

In the 2007 World Championship in Japan, Bolt broke the 200m record that was previously held for over 30 years by Donald Quarrie.  What really put him on the map was his great success in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He broke the world record for the 100m final by completing the race in 9.69 seconds. He also broke the record for the 200m final with 19.30 seconds and earned his third gold medal in the 4X100m relay. At the Berlin World Championships in 2009, he beat his old 100m world record with an astounding time of 9.58 which to this day still stands unbeaten. He also beat his old 200m world record with a time of 19.19 seconds and again won another gold medal in the 4x100m relay.

In the 2012 London Olympics, he created history by becoming the first man to defend the 100m and 200m Olympic sprint titles. With the help of his Jamaican team, this was the third 4x100m relay race he won which earned him the ‘Double Triple’. At the 2013 Moscow World Championships, he again won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay final and thus became the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the world championships. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he again won three gold medals in the three events and earned him the ground breaking “Triple-triple” which was his ultimate aim.

This man is a phenomenal athlete, and that in itself is an understatement. Not only was he gifted, his charisma and authentic personality quickly ranked him as a favourite in the eye of the public. Regardless of whether people came from Jamaica or not, the entire world was behind him. There was an indescribable sense of unity before each race as we all unanimously cheered for the great Usain Bolt to win and marvel us with his inhumane speed. Him losing his final race only shows us that he is human. Even the great fall sometimes but that doesn’t take away from their substantial success.

When you think of the greatest basketball player, you think of Michael Jordan. When you think of the greatest boxer, you think of Muhammad Ali. When you think of the greatest swimmer, you think of Michael Phelps. When you think of the greatest footballer, you think of Pelé. Now when you think of the greatest sprinter of all time, you think of Usain Bolt. He will go down in history as one of the greats and his absence will definitely be felt in the world of athletics. With a name that couldn’t be any more fitting, we will all miss his charisma and most of all, his iconic ‘Lightning Bolt’ pose.