Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica on August 21, 1986, Usain Bolt, a.k.a. ‘Lightning Bolt’, holds the current world record for the men’s 100 metres, 9.58 seconds, which he set during the final of the event at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletics Championships at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany on August 16, 2009. At the time of writing, his record has stood for an unprecedented 13 years, 8 months and 11 days.
Of course, Bolt’s defeat of his two main rivals, American Tyson Gay – who ran 9.71 seconds or, in other words, the third fastest time in history – and compatriot Asafa Powell, in Berlin was not the first time he had broken his own world record for the 100 metres. He had previously done so exactly a year earlier, when winning the first of his three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the event at the National Stadium, a.k.a. the ‘Bird’s Nest’, in Beijing on August 16, 2008.
On that occasion, Bolt clocked 9.69 seconds, beating silver medallist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago by a margin of 0.20 seconds, despite ‘showboating’ for the final 20 metres and crossing the finish line with his arms wide open. In so doing, he shaved 0.03 seconds off his own world record, 9.72 seconds, which he had set at the Icahn Stadium in New York City during the Reebok Grand Prix on May 31, 2008.
In New York City, aged 21, and competing for the just the fifth time over 100 metres at senior level, Bolt defeated reigning world champion Tyson Gay and, in so doing, broke the previous world record, 9.74 seconds, set by Asafa Powell at the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy on September 9, 2007.