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Usain Bolt: Record-Breaking Sprint Star

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Usain Bolt: Record-Breaking Sprint Star

Usain Bolt

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
For a long time Usain Bolt wasn’t sure he’d attempt the sprint double in the 2008 Olympics. But he made it look easy in Beijing, breezing to world record-setting victories in the 100 (9.69 seconds) and the 200 (19.30), then adding a third gold in the 4 x 100 relay for good measure. He enjoyed several strong runs, against the wind (9.79 seconds in the 100, 19.59 in the 200), early in 2009. Then he repeated his individual success at the World Outdoor Track & Field Championships, beating his previous world marks in both the 100 (9.58) and the 200 (19.19).

Fastest man in (the history of) the world:

Formerly a 200-meter specialist, Bolt broke the world’s 100-meter record in just his fourth attempt at that distance in world competition. He won the 100 at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 31, 2008 with a time of 9.72 seconds, beating fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell’s mark of 9.74 seconds.

Bolt vs. Gay:

The 100-meter matchup between world record-holder Bolt and American Tyson Gay, the defending world champ, could have been one of the better spectacles of the 2008 Olympics. Gay edged Bolt in the 2007 World Championships at 200 meters, but the American didn't run that race in Beijing. Gay was on the track, running a 9.85, when Bolt first broke the 100-meter record in 2008, but Gay didn't make the finals in Beijing due to injury. The two faced off in a dramatic 100 meters at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships, where Bolt's record-setting run topped Gay's 9.71 effort.

Career highlights:

Bolt won the 200 at the 2002 World Junior Championships and the 2003 World Youth Championships. He placed second at both the 2006 IAAF World Cup and 2007 World Outdoor Championships.

The stats:

  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 198
  • Birth date: August 21, 1986
  • Hometown: Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • World Championships: Two

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