Usain Bolt: Legend Wins Final Race In Jamaica… Of Course
9.58 seconds, a top speed of almost 45 kilometres an hour (almost 28 miles an hour) and an average speed over 100 metres of 37.6 kilometres an hour (23.4 miles an hour). World record holder in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres. Winner of the triple triple, the 100, 200 and 4×100 metre races at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics (although that first 4×100 metre triumph from 2008 has since been annulled). The legend that is Usain St Leo Bolt, the fastest man alive right now, and for the foreseeable future, is halfway through his last year of competitive racing before he retires.
Back in 2008 when Bolt first came to the attention of the world with three gold medals and three world records, most people saw a man who could transcend his sport and cross over into the mainstream. There was a lot of expectation heaped onto those broad muscular shoulders and some people must have wondered if it was all too much for a newly turned 22 year old to handle. But boy has he handled it well.
Usain Bolt has always been larger than life. From his pre-race showboating to his post-race celebrations and shoeless dancing, everything about Bolt screams fun and the enjoyment of life. However, that enjoyment and that willingness to live life and to not let the huge amount of success he has had burden or affect the way he has conducted himself or his form since he broke through, is surely what has kept him on top since he first broke the 100 metre world record all the way back in 2007, 10 years ago.
He has a resolute character, fully focused on what he aims to achieve and so self-confident in his own abilities to do so that even when there have been setbacks, as in the 2011 World Championship final in Daegu where he was disqualified for false starting, and numerous injuries, especially at the beginning of his career, he has always come back, if not always faster, at least better and stronger. Never was this more evident than during the last Olympics in Rio where it seemed for all the world that this would be an Olympics too far for him as he struggled through the qualifying rounds of the 100 metres and even stumbled during the start in the semi-final to produce one of the most amazing comebacks in 100 metre history when finding himself dead last after the first 40 metres he still managed to accelerate past the other seven runners in the last 60 metres, win and qualify for the final. Bolt’s legacy will endure for a long time and the fact that he has done everything with a smile on his face and a spring in his step is even more remarkable.
Jamaica, a place he has never forgotten or let down by leaving, even when the riches of super-stardom came calling, loves him. Many sports stars move away from home to continue their training and development in countries like the USA and even Usain Bolt was offered the opportunity to do this, but he chose his native Jamaica over USA and the Jamaican people have always supported him for that, something he has never forgotten, alluding to his love for the people of Jamaica and for his country in multiple interviews.
As his career is now coming to a close and he has now entered his final year of competitive athletics, it was fitting then that he also raced competitively, and won with a time of 10.03, in his native Jamaica one final time. He raced in the Salute to a Legend race and the reception he received was something else. Take for example the prayer, performed by an ordained minister and watched by 35,000 Jamaicans, to start the whole thing off.
“We thank you God, for you have truly been good to Jamaica. You have blessed us with doctor, the honourable Usain St Leo Bolt, the embodiment of sportsmanship, who reminds us of the gumption and indomitable spirit of the Jamaican people. May the vibe in the stadium bring a world of justice and love, and make your kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven. Amen.”
Like the majority of people, Bolt has also made his mistakes, he is, contrary to what many believe, only human. Nevertheless, he has kept those mistakes to small, almost insignificant footnotes on a career that has seen him conduct himself in a respectful and humble manner throughout. The title of legend is easily bandied about and is most often overused, even by the sportsmen and women themselves as many of them succumb to their own hubris, but in the case of Usain Bolt, the cap most definitely fits. There has never been anyone quite like him in the world of athletics and you would most probably be hard pushed to even find someone of similar pedigree in the entire sports world.
Usain Bolt is a legend and his name will endure, it will haunt the next generation(s) of sprinters and it will stand for a long time as the bar to reach, the height to scale and rightly so. Long live the greatest sprinter and fastest man to ever walk/run the earth.