He is the fastest man to ever walk the planet but simultaneously as laid back as Garfield the Cat on a Sunday afternoon. King of the Sprint, Usain Bolt, retained his 100m title at the London Olympics on Sunday despite many people doubting his ability to maintain form whilst also admitting himself to being just ‘95% fit’ for the Games. He laughed in the faces of his critics when he achieved a new Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds and cemented himself into sporting history. It was also the second fastest time ever, behind his own record set in Berlin in 2009. Not bad for someone who was feeling slightly under the weather.
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Bolt acheives mammoth accomplishments in a way that appears almost effortless and his blasé attitude towards the magnitude of these achievements is what his fans have grown to love. Just look back to his world record breaking race in Beijing 2008 when he finished light-years ahead of the pack (in sprinting terms) in 9.69 seconds, with just enough time to slow down to a light jog, beat his chest in celebration, and send a text to his mum to tell her he’d won.
The numbers speak for themselves and it would be wrong to say that Bolt puts in little effort to get the results that he does. The hours and hours of gruelling fitness training, the intense weight lifting sessions and the excruciating conditioning regimes he has to endure are unenviable. But it all pales into insignificance when we are in the presence of the superstar that we see on the track, and we tend to ignore the amount of preparation that goes into making the 25-year-old one of the most electrifying men in sports entertainment.
However, it is not just his exploits on the track that make this man the coolest. Even his name oozes swagger and panache. It is custom made for his event and combined with his image as a charismatically chilled out Jamaican and his unmatched talent and popularity; he has multinational brands scrapping to use him in their campaigns.
With such a high profile, he currently earns $20million a year and is set to earn even more now he has added to his Olympic gold stockpile. His signature ‘lightning bolt’ pose after each of his races has fans mimicking him around every corner and what we and advertisers alike are all in awe of is that everybody wants to be like him.
It seems as though he can do no wrong. Whether it is the ability to prepare for an Olympic final race by waking up at midday and chomping on a box of 20 McDonald’s chicken nuggets, playing Call of Duty on his PS3 shortly before strolling out into the arena or his charming knack of escaping any real condemnation after blaming poor performances in May on burning the candle at both ends.
This guy loves a bit of a party and has been spotted countless times skanking the night away in various hotspots all over the globe, never seeming fazed about his coaches finding out. Even though he’d insisted there would be no celebrations until after his final race in this year’s Olympics, he posted a picture on Twitter of him toasting his gold medal win with the Swedish Women’s handball team. But it’s not as if his bosses at Team Jamaica could complain. The Jamaican speed demon crashed his BMW just weeks before the 2009 championships in Berlin, needing an operation on his foot. He was out of training for almost a month in order to recover but still went on to break three world records. Casual.
After all he has pulled off in the sport; you wouldn’t think that he is thinking too much about quitting athletics. That said, he continually hints at wanting to play football for Manchester United. He claimed that if Sir Alex Ferguson came calling he’d find it ‘impossible to say no’. I suppose he already has one foot in the door as a coach, he even gave pre-season sprint training to Cristiano Ronaldo before his record breaking move to Spanish Giants Real Madrid!
Whatever his discipline, Bolt comes across as that kid at school who we all wanted to be like. Good at sport, popular with everybody and a physique that rivals that of a Greek God; this guy has it all – and then some.
Usain Bolt, we salute you.
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