Olympics Photo of the Day

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Usain BOLT

Lightning Bolt
It was on 31 May 2008 at an athletics meeting in New York when the general public discovered Usain Bolt. That day, the Jamaican took the 100m world record in 9.72 seconds, a prestigious record, till then held by his compatriot Asafa Powell. When the athletics competition of the Olympic Games began in Beijing, Usain Bolt was the favourite in the sprint events thanks to his recent performances - though many could have claimed the final victory.
After a first heat completed in 10.20 seconds, the Jamaican ran both a second heat and a semi-final in under 10 seconds, setting the best qualification time. On 16 August 2008, the 100m final, the Games key event, was held in optimal atmospheric conditions. Positioned in the centre of the track, the Caribbean sprinter set off slightly behind his competitors. With his height of 1.96m, Usain Bolt caught up all his rivals and overtook them at the half-way point. With a few metres remaining to the finish line, victory was already his. Usain Bolt could savour his first Olympic gold medal. A look at the clock informed him that he had run an exceptional race: 9.69 seconds! A new world record: he is now the fastest man on the planet.
The 200m heats began two days after this achievement. Usain Bolt, who was world junior champion over this distance, lined up in his favourite event. He qualified for the final with the best time in the heats. On 20 August, he gave a new demonstration of his talent. In front of the enthusiastic crowd in the national stadium, known as the "Bird’s Nest", he won the race in 19.30 seconds. He thus beat the world record set by Michael Johnson in 1996.
His team-mates Dwight Thomas, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell qualified the 4x100m Jamaican relay team for the final on 22 August. For this last race, Usain Bolt took the third relay leg on the bend and passed the baton to Asafa Powell. At the end of the home straight, Jamaica won the Olympic title. The four men achieved a great result, beating the world record and the relay teams of Trinidad and Tobago and Japan. This time, it was with his team-mates that Usain Bolt took victory.
In six days, "Lightning Bolt" as he is now known, won three gold medals and set three world records in the finals. In Beijing, Usain Bolt entered the Olympic Games and athletics history books.