The greatest sprinter in history will retire at the end of athletics world championships, which starts on Friday.
The 100-metre dash, an event that Usain Bolt has dominated for the past decade, will be his last competitive race as a sprinter. Even if he doesn’t win, his place is secure as the king of track in the pantheon of all-time great sprinters.
In the history of the 100-metre event, Bolt obliterates his competition. Although, he faces a close challenge from Tyson Gay, the American can’t match is consistency.
On average the Jamaican will complete 100 metres in 9.86 seconds. That’s equal to Carl Lewis’ personal best.
Sprinters who can run under 10 seconds are in an elite club. Only 124 men have actually done it, but very few have managed to run below that time consistently.
Bolt has broken the 10-second mark a staggering 49 times, but he stands fourth in the all-time list after Justin Gatlin, Maurice Greene and Asafa Powell.
This tiny group of men is dominated by US and Jamaican sprinters with a smattering of a few other countries.
At 30, he’s retiring at a relatively young age compared with some of history’s greatest sprinters. But unlike the others, the Jamaican peaked relatively early in his career.
He could keep going if his body allows it. Carl Lewis, Linford Christie and Justin Gatlin have run their quickest times after turning 30 and all three were Olympic gold medalists in the 100 metres.
If he modelled himself on Kim Collins, he could run his fastest 100 metres at the age of 40.
Bolt also loves to perform on the big stage. His three quickest times have been either at the Olympics or the world championships. His dominance at that level is pretty hard to question.
Even if we compare his fastest 49 timings, the slowest version of Bolt would only be 4.2 metres behind. That’s roughly the length of four cricket bats laid end to end.
Whatever the outcome at these World Championships, Bolt’s place in athletic history will be nearly impossible eclipse.