Bolt Sprinting His Way to Fame
Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the greatest sprinter in history under the age of
17. And if Bolt keeps up his rate of progress as he matures, he could
eventually remove the last five words of the preceding sentence.
The Jamaican phenom will not celebrate his 17th birthday until the 21st of
August. Yet at the recently completed Pan American Junior Championships, the
still 16-year-old was timed in 20.13 seconds, demolishing the rest of the
field by a full half-second.
More significantly Bolt equaled the world record for junior athletes–those
who remain 19 or under during the year of competition–despite glancing
behind just before the finish slowed his momentum. If he had not, Bolt
probably would have not only bettered the 20.13 world junior record by Roy
Martin in 1985, but also surpassed a non-ratified 20.07 by Lorenzo Daniel
that same year.
“When I saw the clock the first time I was astonished,” said Bolt after the
race. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Earlier this year, Bolt won the Jamaican National High School Champs 200 in
20.25 and then added the World Youth gold medal for that event in
Sherbrooke, Canada on July 13.
The year before, Bolt became a national hero when he won the 200 meters
final at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, the
youngest ever gold medalist at these championships. Bolt also helped Jamaica
to silver medals in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.
Bolt’s talent is not limited to the 200 meters. Back in April he ran 45.35
for 400 meters, a world’s best for 16-year-olds.
The young Jamaican already stands out among the competition at a tall 6 feet
5 inches, and indeed when asked what’s been the biggest change in 2003, Bolt
smiles and says, “I am a couple of inches taller than last year!”