In this series ahead of Tokyo 2020, we will take a look at athletes who have been an integral part of the Olympic Games folklore over the past century and more.

Usain Bolt: Like lightning


  • Olympic Medals: 8 Gold
  • Olympi Games participations: 4
  • First Olympic Games: Athens 2004
  • Year of Birth: 1986

Usain Bolt has been, quite simply, the face of the last three Olympic Games. To win the event’s blue riband event, the 100m, just once, guarantees Olympic immortality. To do it three times at consecutive Games, and add the 200m and 4x100m relay titles to the mix, gives him a good case to be considered the greatest athlete of all time. Still only 33, he is a living legend. Add real charm and humour to the mix, and Bolt has been the superstar that the Games needed over the last decade and a bit.

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The fastest man the world has ever seen, “Lightning Bolt” shot to worldwide fame in Beijing in 2008 as the first man to win both the 100m and 200m since American Carl Lewis in 1984.

He went on to become the only man to complete the sprint double twice when he repeated the feat in London – and then swept all before him for a third time in Rio.

The charismatic Jamaican smashed both 100m and 200m world records in Beijing before lowering them to 9.58 sec and 19.19 sec respectively, times which are still to be beaten.

Watch: Usain Bolt’s stunning 100m world record in 2009 – ‘the most incredible piece of sprinting’

Pause, rewind, play: A look at Usain Bolt’s journey before the world records and Olympic glory

A minor blot in his otherwise incredible record is the tally of nine gold medals coming down to eight.

He anchored Jamaica’s 4x100m sprint relay team to cross the line first in all three Games, though in 2017 the quartet were stripped of the 2008 gold because teammate Nesta Carter was found guilty of doping.

Bolt retired in 2017 with a record eight Olympic and 11 world championships sprint gold medals.

Usain Bolt at the Olympic Games

Games Finish Discipline Event
Rio 2016 Gold 100 metres Athletics
Gold 200 metres Athletics
Gold 4 x 100 metres Relay Athletics
London 2012 Gold 100 metres Athletics
Gold 200 metres Athletics
Gold 4 x 100 metres Relay Athletics
Beijing 2008 Gold 100 metres Athletics
Gold 200 metres Athletics
Gold rescinded 4 x 100 metres Relay Athletics

List of Olympic Games sprint double (men’s 100m and 200m):

1904 Archie Hahn (U.S.) 11.00 secs 21.60 secs

1912 Ralph Craig (U.S.) 10.80 21.70

1928 Percy Williams (Canada) 10.80 21.80

1932 Eddie Tolan (U.S.) 10.30 21.20

1936 Jesse Owens (U.S.) 10.30 20.70

1956 Bobby Joe Morrow (U.S.) 10.50 20.60

1972 Valery Borzov (Soviet Union/Ukraine) 10.14 20.00

1984 Carl Lewis (U.S.) 9.99 19.80

2008 Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.69 WR 19.30

2012 Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.63 19.32

2016 Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.81 19.78


(With IOC and AFP inputs)