Usain Bolt is probably too fast for anyone to catch right now. Sometimes even the camera has to slow the frame down to keep pace. But there are things about Bolt that can leave someone astounded. You think you know everything? So, read the text below to be sure.
1. Champion of everything!
Bolt is one of only eight athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.
2. He’s quite the philanthropist
In 2009, Bolt paid just over £10,000 to formally adopt an abandoned cheetah cub – named Lightning Bolt – in Nairobi, and has since paid £2,300 a year to cover its upkeep at the orphanage. His support of Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts are surpassed by his charitable work closer to home: the Usain Bolt Foundation works to benefit local youngsters, through sporting provisions, improving community structures, and funding talented Jamaicans to excel in their chosen disciplines.
The man might be worth millions of dollars these days, but, right from the off, he ensured his sponsorship deal with Puma provided for his hometown; every year, the manufacturer sends sporting equipment to his alma mater, William Knibb Memorial High School, to help others follow in its most famous alumni’s footsteps. When you see Usain Bolt in an advert, it’s most likely filmed in Jamaica, by a Jamaican production crew, in an attempt to boost local enterprise and gain exposure for the country. Under whose insistence? Bolt’s, of course.
3. Cricket and Football were his first loves
Growing up, he was a promising fast bowler and counted compatriot Chris Gayle, Paksitan’s Waqar Younis and Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar among his sporting heroes. He is also a huge Manchester United fan and was a special guest of the club at the 2011 Champions League final in London, where United lost to Barcelona.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand had in 2012 offered to help Bolt set up a trial at Old Trafford to impress then manager Alex Ferguson and Bolt reportedly said: “People think I am joking. But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said: ‘OK let’s do this, come and have a trial’, it would be impossible for me to say no. “I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference.”
4. He’s actually got a lightning-quick start
Contrary to popular belief, the sprinter – when he executes properly – has one of the best starts in the sport, belying his height. His 100 metre world record in Beijing included an opening 60 metres which is believed to be quicker than the current world record over that distance. Where he pulls ahead from his rivals is the final stages of a race, where his long stride comes into its own, but don’t follow the crowd and talk about Bolt as a ‘weak starter’: it’s a common misconception.
5. He’s got his own app
The ‘Bolt!’ game rocket up to the top of the Jamaican charts, and reached the dizzying heights of number two in the UK’s top free apps list for 2012. Bolt’s not used to finishing second in anything, but he’ll have been pretty pleased with that. In the game, users steer an animated version of the sprint star through a variety of challenges to unlock faster sprint speeds. Having just taken it for a spin, I can report that it escalates pretty quickly: the faster you (Bolt) run, the more pirate (yes, pirate) traps are set for you, and the more Gatorade icons you require to sustain top speed. Eventually, you obtain a rocket grenade launcher, with which you can put paid to those pesky pirates once and for all. Relevant? Not in the slightest. Good fun? You bet.
6. Bolt´s a Businessman Too
When he’s not busy being a blur of lightning on the running track, the 29-year-old Bolt keeps himself occupied with a host of other interests.
Not only has he launched his own set of ‘Run-Free’ in-ear headphones with Soul Electronics, he also has a clothing line called the Bolt Collection and he owns a restaurant named Tracks And Records in Jamaica.
7. He’s managed all that he’s achieved with scoliosis
Bolt’s biomechanical advantages are numerous, but one area in which his body isn’t a raw speed machine is his spine, where he suffers from an abnormal curvature. When a younger athlete, the condition often hampered his progress, he describes, and contributed to the series of niggles which delayed the realisation of his enormous potential. But, once Coach Mills established a consistent performance team around Bolt, the Jamaican has strengthened his core and back significantly, and the condition appears not to trouble him any more.
He’s not alone in this, though – British middle distance athlete Emelia Gorecka, Romanian Olympic gymnast Alexandra Marinescu, and swimmer Jennifer Thompson of the United States, one of the most decorated Olympians in history – prove that a spinal curve need not hold you back.
8. He’s a loyal patient of controversial doctor, ‘Healing Hans’
Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, Bayern Munich’s ex-doctor, is known for unconventional substances, including Hyalart – extracted from cockerel crests – and Actovegin, which can be found in calves’ blood. The pair have worked together since Bolt was 16 years old, and he visits the doctor, now in his seventies, three or four times a year.
A host of well-known figures have visited Healing Hans in the past, including Bono, Luciano Pavarotti, Boris Becker, and Bolt’s one-time rival, Tyson Gay. Muller-Wohlfahrt is an acupuncture and homeopathy specialist, trusted wholeheartedly by his athletes, and boasts a pair of signed Puma spikes in his office from Usain Bolt. Five of the eight finalists at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin have been treated by the German at one time: despite the air of mystery shrouding the figure, he clearly knows his stuff.
9. He’s actually covered 100m in less than nine seconds
Bolt’s relay split in the London, in the men’s 4×100 metre final, has been given as 8.70 seconds – as he pulled away from Ryan Bailey of the United States down the final straight en route to a 36.84 finishing time. A lot of focus is put upon Bolt’s individual performances, but he’s been a part of the six fastest sprint relays of all time, consistently dipping below nine seconds in his splits for these.
10. He’s gone about wins in some very unconventional ways
Evoking Chumbawamba’s seminal 1997 hit, Usain Bolt has had a few setbacks along the way to a glittering career, but he’s come back unperturbed to rewrite history time and again. The Jamaican managed his second 100 metre world record in 2008 with his shoe untied – decelerating before the line and thumping his chest in his first Olympic final, a golden lace streaming behind him. His fuel that day?McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
He downed about 1,000 nuggets in 10 days in Beijing in 2008. That’s about 4,700 calories worth of Chicken McNuggets a day. Not because they make him go faster – but because the Jamaican thought Chinese food was “odd”.
Three years later, he false started in Daegu in the 100 metres to lose his only major championship event since 2008 before breaking the world record in the 4×100 and winning the 200m with the fifth fastest clocking of all time. And then – perhaps most ignominiously of all – Bolt was taken out by an errant cameraman’s segway in 2015 after winning his fourth consecutive 200 metre world championship gold – he’s no stranger to a hiccup en route to success.
11. He´s a Marketer´s Dream
Bolt has endorsement deals with a host of companies, including Gatorade, Hublot, Virgin Media, Visa, Nissan Motors and Puma, his biggest sponsor who has been with him the longest.
He was ranked 73rd in Forbes’ latest rich list with US$21 million (S$29 million ) in earnings has a global ambassador deal in place with Puma in retirement worth as much as US$4 million a year through 2025. He also commands a fee of US$250,000 to appear at an event.
12. It all began with a bet over a free lunch
When Bolt was just twelve years old, local priest Reverend Nugent overheard the youngster bickering with his close friend, Ricardo Gedes, over who was the quickest runner. Nugent decided to up the stakes in a bid to persuade the would-be sprinters to commit to the contest: free lunch to the winner. The pair were sold, and Usain Bolt tore to victory. As the priest departed and Bolt tucked into his spoils, legend has it that Nugent told the young Jamaican: ‘If you can beat Ricardo, you can beat anyone’. A star was born.
13. A Segway driver flattened him after winning world 200m gold in 2008
Song Tao, who works for the host broadcaster CCTV, sent Bolt tumbling on his victory lap when he lost control of the segway he was driving and careened into the Jamaican.
Thankfully Bolt was unharmed and the two men came face to face again after the 200m medal ceremony when Song gave the six-time Olympic champion what appeared to be a bracelet and the pair shook hands.
Speaking after the incident Bolt said: “He tried to kill me! It was like, ‘You are winning too much – take him out'”.
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