Monday 18 November 2019

Lightning Bolt -- from teen talent to global star

Cliona Foley

From: A village appropriately called 'Sherwood Content' in Trelawny, Jamaica.

Age: 22.

Height: 6'5".

Weight: 13 stone 5 lbs.

Personal Bests: 100m -- 9.69 seconds (World Rec). 200m -- 19.30 seconds. (World Rec).


Childhood -- Bolt's early passion and talent was for cricket but his school cricket coach, spotting his speed, suggested he should try track and field too.

2002 -- He won the 200m at the World Juniors (U-19) which were held in Kingston. He was only 15, the youngest ever junior champion. Former Jamaican prime minister PJ Patterson then organised that he move from Trelawny to Jamaica's 'high performance centre' in Kingston.

2003 -- He won the 200m title at the World Youth Championships and won the IAAF's 'Rising Star' award. At 16, he was as fast as Michael Johnson was when he was 20.

2004 -- Bolt became the first junior to break 20 seconds for 200m, breaking Roy Martin's record by two tenths of a second with a remarkable 19:93 time. He turned professional the same season but had hamstring problems which hampered his progress for several seasons.

2005 -- Glen Mills took over as his coach and Bolt started training with Kim Collins (a world 100m champion) and Dwain Chambers.

Mills thought about moving him up to 400m, Bolt wanted to race at 100m and the compromise was that he concentrate on 200m first.

2007 -- Bolt broke Don Quarrie's Jamaican 200m record and, at the World Championships in Osaka, took silvers in the 200m and 4X100m relay.

2008 -- In May, in what was actually only his fifth senior race at the distance, he set a new world 100m record of 9.72 in New York.

Olympic 100m -- He broke the world record in the 100m final despite slowing down after 70m and running with one shoelace untied. Scientists reckon he would have run 9.55 seconds if he didn't slow down.

Olympic 200m -- He had to push himself all the way to break Michael Johnson's 12-year-old world record (19:32 seconds) by running 19:30 in the 200m final on the eve of his 22nd birthday.

He also helped Jamaica set a new world record in the 4X100m.

Next Move -- Bolt now has his eye on Johnson's nine-year-old world 400m record (43.18 seconds) saying "there are no major championships in 2010 so I could go for it that year."

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