Returning volunteer, Bella Butler, brings you Label’s latest on sports.
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man over 100m and 200m, has officially retired from all sports, having followed a football career after he had retired from athletics in 2017. As a charismatic and relaxed, yet competitive individual, his career has been phenomenal.
In 2004, Bolt turned professional, and at 18 years old, he attended the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. He appeared in the 200m final as the youngest athlete ever to do so, despite not medalling. In the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Bolt won silver again in the 200m and in the 4x100m Jamaican relay team.
Bolt started running the 100m in 2008, and later that year, set the world record with 9.72s at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York. At the Beijing Olympics, Bolt ran the 100m, 200m and 4x100m finals. He broke three world records, clocking 9.69s in 100m with one of his shoelaces untied, a 19.32s in 200m, and a 37.10s in the relay. Commenting on his 100m performance, Bolt said “I was slowing down long before the finish and wasn’t tired at all.”
The following year, Bolt attended the Berlin World Championships. He broke two world records in his three specialties. Bolt’s 100m world record stands to this day, with a time of 9.58s, and claimed his first World Championship gold medal. He won his 200m final with the largest margin ever seen in World Championships history, despite three other athletes running under 19.90s, with his time of 19.19s. In the 4x100m, Bolt and his teammates broke the World Championship record.
In 2010, he suffered from a tendon injury that affected much of his performance and training. At the World Championships in Daegu, he was disqualified in the 100m final for a false start; the highest profile disqualification in history. Bolt still won the 200m and set a new world record in in the 4x100m relay with 37.04s.
In the 2012 London Olympics, he won all three events again, making him the first man in history to defend his Olympic sprint titles. On the final day, the Jamaican 4x100m team set a world record of 36.84s. After racing Bolt said, “I’m now a legend”.
Bolt won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m again at the 2013 World Championships, making him the first man to claim three golds over the 200m. This made him the most successful athlete to have ever competed in the World Championships. He remained undefeated in the 200m for the rest of the season.
After a tough start to the 2015 season, Bolt recovered well in the Beijing World Championships, finishing first in the 100m in 9.79s – a close finish with Gaitlin running 9.80s – and also in the 200m. Again, the Jamaican team won the 4x100m.
In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Bolt received gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, managing to claim the “triple-triple” – three gold medals in three Olympics. However, in 2017, the Jamaican team was stripped of gold from the 2008 Olympics in the 4x100m as teammate, Nesta Carter, was found to have doped on a nasal decongestant. Bolt was “heartbroken”.
In his final year as a professional, Bolt finished third in the 100m in the 2017 World Championships. In the 4x100m final, Bolt pulled up with a hamstring injury. He refused a wheelchair and crossed the finish line for the final time with his teammates supporting him – a dramatic exit to his athletics career.
Bolt went on to trial as a professional footballer, stating it was his new “dream”. His footballing skill was questionable, with Andy Keough stating that he had a touch “like a trampoline”. However, after offers from Maltese club, Valetta, and the Australian team, Costal Club Mariners, Bolt turned them down. In January 2019, Bolt announced that his sporting career was over.
Reflecting on Bolt’s career, there is no denying his sensational sporting talent. His charming personality and laidback attitude, combined with his competitive streak, makes him the perfect athlete, and one that the world will not forget. As the fastest man in the world, he has not only changed the world of athletics, but of all sport, and his miraculous achievements are assured to be longstanding.