Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was dubbed "the fastest man alive" after winning three gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and becoming the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in record times. Bolt also won three Olympic gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, along the way notching an Olympic-record time of 9.63 seconds in the 100 meters, making him the first man in history to set three world records in Olympic competition. He made history again at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio with gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races and 4x100-meter relay; the wins gave him a "triple-triple" — three golds over three consecutive Olympics — though he later was stripped of one of the relay golds because of a teammate's doping violation.
Bolt was born on August 21, 1986, in Jamaica. Both a standout cricket player and a sprinter early on, Bolt's natural speed was noticed by coaches at school, and he began to focus solely on sprinting under the tutelage of Pablo McNeil, a former Olympic sprint athlete. (Glen Mills would later serve as Bolt's coach and mentor.) As early as age 14, Bolt was wowing fans with his lightning speed, and he won his first high school championship medal in 2001, taking the silver in the 200-meter race.
At the age of 15, Bolt took his first shot at success on the world stage at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, where he won the 200-meter dash, making him the youngest world-junior gold medalist ever. Bolt's feats impressed the sports world, and he received the International Association of Athletics Foundation’s Rising Star Award that year, boosting the recognition of a young man soon to be known as "Lightning Bolt."
At the Berlin 2009 World Championships, Bolt set a world record time of 9.58 seconds for the 100m race, notching a top speed of 27.8 miles per hour (44.72 kilometers per hour) between meters 60 and 80, with an average speed of 23.5 mph.
Despite a nagging hamstring injury, Bolt was chosen for the Jamaican Olympic squad for the 2004 Athens Olympics. He was eliminated in the first round of the 200 meters, though, again hampered by injury.
Bolt reached the world Top 5 rankings in 2005 and 2006. Unfortunately, injuries continued to plague the 6'5" sprinter, preventing him from completing a full professional season.
In 2007, Bolt broke the national 200-meter record held for over 30 years by Donald Quarrie, and earned two silver medals at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. These medals boosted Bolt's desire to run, and he took a more serious stance toward his career.
At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Bolt ran the 100-meter and 200-meter events. In the 100-meter final leading up to the Games, he broke the world record, winning in 9.69 seconds. Not only was the record set without a favorable wind, but he also visibly slowed down to celebrate before he finished (and his shoelace was untied), an act that aroused much controversy later on. He went on to win three gold medals and break three world records in Beijing.
At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London, Bolt won his fourth Olympic gold medal in the men's 100-meter race, beating rival Yohan Blake, who won silver in the event. Bolt ran the race in 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record. The win marked Bolt's second consecutive gold medal in the 100. He went on to compete in the men's 200, claiming his second consecutive gold medal in that race as well. He became the first man to win both the 100 and 200 in consecutive Olympic Games, as well as the first man to ever win back-to-back gold medals in double sprints. Bolt's accomplishments made him the first man in history to set three world records in a single Olympic Games competition.
Bolt returned to Olympic glory at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games when he won gold in the 100-meter race, making him the the first athlete to win three successive titles in the event. He finished the race in 9.81 seconds with American runner and rival Justin Gatlin, who took silver, 0.08 seconds behind him.