Dr. the Honourable Ambassador Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ
World’s Fastest Human
Without a doubt, Dr. the Honourable Ambassador Usain Bolt, OJ is the fastest athlete the world has ever seen. His athletic prowess and remarkable world record breaking performances in both the 100 and 200 metres sprints have left the world in awe.
At the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing, China, Bolt wrote a new page in history when he became the first and only athlete to topple three Olympic and world records at the same Games.
A year later, at the 12th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Berlin, Germany, the Hon. Usain Bolt set a new time of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres sprint; erasing his previous record of 9.69 seconds. He further clocked 19.19 seconds in the 200 metres; shaving off 0.11 seconds from his Olympic and world record run of 19.30 seconds.
Major Athletic Achievements
Bolt’s outstanding athletic achievements include:
- 4 x 100m in new world record time (2011) – 37.04 sec.
- World leading time in the 100m sprints (2011) – 9.76 sec.
- 200m World Champion (2011) – 19.40 sec.
- 100m World Champion in world record time (2009) – 9.58 sec.
- 200m World Champion in world record time (2009) – 19.19 sec.
- 4 x 100m championship record (2009) – 37.31 sec.
- 100m Olympic Champion in world record time (2008) – 9.69 sec.
- 200m Olympic Champion in world record time (2008) – 19.30 sec.
- 4 x 100m in new Olympic and world record time (2008) – 37.10 sec.
- 100m World Record holder at the Reebok Grand Prix Meet (2008) – 9.72 sec.
Bolt’s Journey to the Top
The Hon. Usain Bolt was born on August 21, 1986 to parents Jennifer and Wellesley Bolt in the parish of Trelawny. His mother described his world record breaking performances as “natural”, noting that he demonstrated tremendous athletic ability from age twelve.
Bolt’s journey to stardom started on the dirt tracks of the Waldensia Primary and William Knibb Memorial High Schools, which paved the way for him to run at the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Boys and Girls Championships where he became the record holder of Class I (under 19) in the 200 and 400 metres, with times of 20.25 and 45.35 seconds, respectively.
Bolt became the youngest World Junior Champion at age 15, when he won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica in 2002. A year later, he broke the World Junior record in the 200 metres at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada.
He performed exceptionally well at the junior and youth levels where he broke all the world records in all age groups in the 200 metres. In fact, he became the first junior to run the 200 metres under 20 seconds at the CARIFTA Games held in Hamilton, Bermuda in 2004.
Bolt’s fame heightened in 2008 when he beat his countryman, Asafa Powell’s record of 9.74 in the 100 metres, setting a new world record of 9.72, at the Reebok Grand Prix Meet in New York, USA.
However, it was not always glory for this legendary track star, who suffered several setbacks on his rise to the top. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Bolt failed to move beyond the first round in the 200 metres heats. And, due to an injury, he also finished eighth in the 200 metres final at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki, Finland.
Despite the obstacles and the numerous criticisms he experienced, even from his fans, his present coach, Glen Mills, said that Bolt continued to persevere with one goal in mind – to succeed. His hard work paid off, as he is now recognised as not just an ordinary athlete, but the world’s most successful athlete.
Major National and International Awards
As a result of his achievements, the Hon. Usain Bolt has been recognised at both the national and international levels. He was recently awarded by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, which he also copped in 2009 and 2008. Bolt was also conferred the honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in November 2011.
In 2009, the Government of Jamaica conferred Bolt with the national honour, Order of Jamaica (OJ) and the diplomatic title ‘Ambassador-at-Large’, for his outstanding achievements in the field of Sports. And, in 2008, he was awarded his first national award, the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, (CD).
The Hon. Usain Bolt also copped the RJR Sports Foundation’s ‘Sports Man of the Year Award’ in 2011, 2009 and 2008; as well as The Gleaner, ‘Man of the Year Award’, in 2009 and 2008. He was also one of two Jamaicans, named for the 2009 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Champion for Sports award. The other recipient was Veronica Campbell-Brown, CD, the current 200 metres Olympic and world champion.
Bolt received the Vanguard Award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies for his outstanding performance (2009); he copped the BBC’s Overseas Sports Personality Award (2009, 2008); he was voted Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year at the 28th Annual Commonwealth Sports Awards (2009); and was the recipient of the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Rising Star Awards (2002, 2003).
The world is not only charmed by Bolt’s athletic ability, but also his personality and humility. His playful demeanour before and after his races, and his signature posture ‘to the worl’ (hands outstretched to the side as if shooting an arrow) have become a part of his personal style.
In a Gleaner article, published on August 25, 2009, his mother said that the world champion has “no airs” with his family, his two siblings or the people in his community, as he still “hails the people” when he visits. She also pointed out that amidst his schedule; he still finds time to visit home to enjoy his favourite meal – pork and dumplings.
After breaking several international records, Bolt’s strides now appear to be against the clock, as his fans and competitors alike anticipate his performance at the next athletic event. His coach, Glen Mills, founder of the track club, Racers, is convinced that “[Bolt] has a very bright future,” as he continues his journey towards gold.
The Hon. Usain Bolt has demonstrated that with talent, zeal and determination, success is guaranteed. He has shown that he is not only the fastest sprinter, but one of the world’s greatest sports personalities yet to be matched in talent and ability.
- Foster, Anthony. “Bolt’s Journey to Stardom (pt 1).”The Gleaner.24 Oct. 2009: B7.
- Foster, Anthony. “Bolt Tops another World-class field.” Jamaica Gleaner News Online. 2. Jan. 2009 http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090102/sports/sports3.html
- Royale-Davis, Gloria. Going for Gold: Personal Reflections of Kingston 2002. Jamaica: Gloria Royale-Davis, 2003.
- Robinson, Patrick. Jamaican Athletics: A Model for the World.3rd ed. Jamaica: Patrick Robinson, 2008.
- Tucker, Elton. “Usain St .Leo Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man.” The Gleaner.23 Oct. 2009:D12.
- Williams, Gordon. “Success hasn’t changed Bolt: Sprint Phenomenon still finds Time to visit Trelawny Home.” The Gleaner. 25. Aug. 2009:A2
- “2011 Athlete of the Year Finalists - Spotlight on Male Candidates.” IAAF.ORG Home of World Athletics. 8 Nov. 2011. http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/gala/2011/newsid=62868.html
- “UWI Conferring Honorary LL.D. Degrees on Bolt, Israel, Jarrett.” Jamaica Observer. 7 July 2011. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/UWI-conferring-honorary-LL-D--degrees-on-Bolt--Israel--Jarrett_9156551
- “BOLT - Man of the year - Lightning Strikes Twice.” Jamaica Gleaner News Online. 19 Nov. 2009 http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20091119/lead/lead1.html
- “Bolt on Top – Olympian cops Gleaner’s Top Award.” Jamaica Gleaner News Online. 11 Nov. 2008 http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20081111/lead/lead1.html
- “Usain and Veronica Appointed UNESCO Champions for Sports.” Jamaica Information Service. 12 Sept. 2008. http://www.jis.gov.jm/information/html/20080912t110000-0500_16634_jis_usain_and_veronica_appointed_unesco_champions_for_sport.asp
- “Usain is Doing What Comes Naturally…Jennifer Bolt.”Jamaica Information Service. 19 Aug. 2008. http://www.jis.gov.jm/information/html/20080819t150000-0500_16393_jis__usain_is_doing_what_comes_naturally_____jennifer_bolt_.asp
- “Bolt Stands with Garvey and Marley – Grange.” Jamaica Information Service. 20 Aug. 2008. < http://www.jis.gov.jm/information/html/20080820t150000-0500_16406_jis_bolt_stands_with_garvey_and_marley___grange.asp
- “Statement by the Minister of Youth, Sport & Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, to the 35th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, Paris, Oct.9, 2009.” Jamaica Information Service. 10 Oct. 2009.m http://jis.gov.jm/minspeeches/html/20091010t190000-0500_21453_jis_statement_by_the_minister_of_youth__sport___culture__hon__olivia grange to_the_35th_session_of_the_general_conference_o.asp
- “OJ for Usain among other Honours.” Jamaica Information Service. 16 Sept. 2009 http://jis.gov.jm/officepm/html/20090916t160000-0500_21135_jis_oj_for_usain_among_other_honours.asp
Last updated - March 2012