Track and Field is one of the greatest sports in the world. It’s a shame that the majority of the world only appreciates it every four years when the Olympics rolls around, because some of the greatest athletes, performances and moments happen on the track.
Ten years ago today, we witnessed all three of those things.
On August 16th, 2009, a year after blowing away the competition at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bolt settled in in the blocks at the 100m Final at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. It was a highly competitive field featuring fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell, and U.S. sprinter, Tyson Gay, both to his right. When the gun went off, Bolt got off to his normally slow start, other shorter sprinters jumping out to a very early lead.
But at around the ten meter mark, Bolt turned it on, leaving the field further and further behind, every cheetah like stride bringing him closer to the finish line. The fans cheered and the announcers couldn’t contain their emotions as Bolt charged to the finish line in a blistering pace.
As he crossed the line, the official time was posted.
The fans erupted, flashes going off across the stadium as Bolt set a new world record, beating his own time of 9.69 seconds set in 2008.
Bolt, the 22 year-old sprinter from Jamaica, put everyone on notice that his Olympic glory was not to be short lived, something that he consistently reminded everyone of over the next seven years.
He dominated the sprinting scene, capturing nine Olympic gold medals between the 2008, 2012 and 2016 games. He was the undefeated champion in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m and in 2012, he became the first man to win back to back Olympic titles in the 100m and 200m. Although he was later striped of the 2008 4x100m gold medal after a teammate tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine, leading to the Jamaican men’s 4x100m teams disqualification, Bolt remains undefeated in nine straight Olympic events.
Usain Bolt holds the world record in the 100m (9.58 seconds), the 200m (19.19 seconds) and was on the Jamaican relay team that set the world record in the 4x100m relay at the 2012 Olympic Games (36.84 seconds). His dominance on the track extended over almost a decade, and he parlayed that success into becoming one of the most recognized, and popular athletes, in all of sports.
Today we honor Usain Bolt and his absolutely amazing record that, at least for the present, doesn’t seem destined to be broken. The Jamaican sprinter will the big smile, and even bigger strides, will go down in history as, arguably, the greatest sprinter the sport has ever seen.
Not Jamaican sprinter, but sprinter, period.
Ten years ago today, he reminded us of that fact.