Day: August 28, 2017
8 Olympic Gold medals, 11 Gold World Championship medals, 8 Jamaican National Championships, 10 World Records broken, “9.58” Current World Record in the 100 meter dash, “19.19” current World Record in the 200 meter dash. The list of his accomplishments are too long to show, but the way he did it is what makes his legacy so special. Aside from the video game times he has put up year after year, Usain Bolt brought something to track & field the sport never saw, and quite frankly the sport needed. Before he arrived on the seen the sport had never seen an athlete with his bravado, size (6’5 inches), showmanship, and box office appeal. Track and Field needed that one athlete who could be confident in their abilities , and then go onto the track to put up times that we have never seen, so we can say “This can’t be real.”, “Who is this guy?”, “HE MUST BE DOPING.”. The last comment leads me to the most important aspect of Bolt’s legacy. His career has been absolutely clean. Let’s face it after what he did in the 100 meter dash in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we all thought that no human being can run away from the worlds best sprinters like that, but he did. If you look at the top 20 times of all time in the 100 meter dash, Usain Bolt is the only athlete to not have tested positive for PEDs, simply amazing. With the sport having a dark shadow of drug use, to have track & field’s best athlete to be drug free has made the people who don’t follow the sport always find a television when he is racing. The interest of the sport has risen in the past 10 years with more elite athletes to come, and all of this is thanks to him. Bolt never backed down from the challenge, in fact he embraced it. Every season, every major championship he was willing to test his ability to surpass what he had did the previous year. He kept he fans wanting more and asking does he have any limits. We can’t help but to think, if he had run through the line in Beijing. The record could easily be 9.55, or faster. 6- time IAAF World Athlete of the year, 4-Time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for an athlete that may be the closest thing to Muhammad Ali as far as charisma. When an athlete sets foot on the track for a race whether it be sprinting or long distance, the nerves are hard to maintain everything is running through you mind. Usain Bolt is the first athlete we saw to jokingly just enjoy the moment and just “keep it light” he didn’t let the moment wear him down, and that is what we will remember about the entire experience. Yes, the races and times speak for themselves, but pre-race was part of the show as well. The crowd screaming for him no matter if he was in Europe, or North America. The custom made spikes from Puma, and the pose that has cultivated sports. The sport of track & field needed a Michael Jordan figure on and off the track, not just for the performances, but for his personality. The 3-time BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award(tied for the most with Muhammed Ali & Roger Federer) reminded everyone that athletics is an individual sport and that you alone must control your brand, and the way fans with gravitate towards you.
Usain Bolt’s records are what fans will always remember, but taking a deeper dive into the statistics shows just how consistent he was at running world best times. Bolt holds the top 3 fastest times of all-time. He ran 9.58 in Berlin, 9.63 in London, and 9.69 in Beijing, but what’s more impressive is that 3 of his top 4 performances in the 100 meter dash were world records, and the other is an Olympic record.
The king of the 200 meter dash has done the same at that distance. He was known to be more of an 200 meter runner early in his career. Bolt still holds the world under-18 200 meter dash record of 20.13 , and the world under-20 200 meter dash record of 19.93. Bolt was just as dominant in the 200 meter dash, he holds 5 of the top 10 200 meter dash times ever.
Even though his sprinting days are over, we certainly hope the his legacy off the track will be as successful as on the track. This past spring he played a good part in the Nitro Athletics track meeting in Melbourne, Australia. He knows what the sport needs to move forward, and I certainly hope he can provide the same excitement he need while competing.
All- Pro Track & Field