Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the “World’s Fastest Man” and undoubtedly the most entertaining Olympic athlete in decades, made the kind of debut at the 2016 Rio Games that most would expect from the six-time gold medalist and world-record holder.
Before taking questions from reporters at his introductory press conference on Monday, Bolt sauntered and sambaed out with a group of dancers befitting a Rio Carnival parade float.
Usain Bolt's Rio news conference becomes samba session pic.twitter.com/F5DuO3wSL1
— Dan Roan (@danroan) August 8, 2016
Afterward, Bolt flashed the braggadocio and confidence that’s made him not only Jamaica’s greatest Olympian but maybe even the greatest across every border. Bolt, who will turn 30 on the day of the closing ceremony, is used to making bold claims and then backing them up.
"I'm going to win the 100 meters," Bolt told CNN. "I never try to predict times, I avoid that because you never know. I'll win all three gold [medals], there's never anything else for me when it comes to a championship."
Bolt is already the two-time defending Olympic champion in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and the 4x100 relay that he shares with his Jamaica teammates, and he has the opportunity to be the first to ever win the esteemed events three consecutive times. But he’s also out to better himself and once again amend the record books.
"I think I can definitely break the 200-meter world record and I definitely want to. I said I wanted to go under 19 seconds and I don't know if that will be possible but nothing tried, nothing done, so I will go out there and push myself,” Bolt said.
This will be the last we see of Bolt in the Olympics, so he no doubt wants to make it count. As the world soaks his larger-than-life personality one final time, here’s 10 facts about Bolt before he puts his gold medals and world records on the line.
Yes, His Name Really Is Bolt
Perhaps it was sheer coincidence or even fate that the greatest sprinter in Olympic history also has the most fitting last name. Usain St. Leo Bolt was born on Aug. 21, 1986 to Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt in the small town of Sherwood Content.
Greatness At An Early Age
Though he was known for clowning around and not taking athletics too seriously as a young man, Bolt’s talent and promise were evident as a teenager. At the 2002 World Junior Championships, serendipitously hosted by Kingston, Jamaica, Bolt posted a 20.61 seconds time in the 200 meters, which was actually a shade off his then-best, but it was enough to make him the youngest world juniors champion in history, at just 15 years old.
Leading A Nation
As famous as Bolt is around the globe, he’s a national hero in Jamaica and for good reason. Technically Jamaica’s appeared in almost every Olympics since 1948, and since then it’s won 17 gold medals, all in athletics (track and field). Bolt owns six of those golds, or rather, more than a third of the nation’s greatest athletic triumphs.
Three Times Fastest
Bolt not only owns the current world record for the 100 meters at 9.58 seconds but also the two previous fastest times of 9.69 seconds and 9.72 seconds. Many previous record holders won the title of “World’s Fastest Man” and broke their previous mark, but Bolt is the only one to do so twice.
Love For Manchester United
Back in 2011, three years after his incredible display at the Beijing Games, the long-time Manchester United fan, told the BBC he wanted to play soccer after retiring from the track. Since then, Bolt has publicly asked United for a tryout. In 2012, then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson said there could be opportunities to give Bolt a tryout.
One hasn’t been granted just yet, but that hasn’t stopped Bolt from both admiring and chiding United. In May he said he would love to play for United as long as Louis van Gaal wasn’t the manager, and following Van Gaal’s dismissal and the hiring of new boss Jose Mourinho, Bolt reignited his campaign to play for the Red Devils.
Bolt Could’ve Been Even More Dominant
Bolt will appear in the fourth and, he says, final Games of his career in Rio and while he’s already considered the greatest sprinter in history he could have padded his records even more back at the 2004 Athens Games. Bolt qualified and made the Jamaican squad 12 years ago, but was actually eliminated in the first round of the 200 meters because he was severely hampered by a hamstring injury.
No Trials No Problem
Due to another hamstring injury this year, Bolt opted not to run at the Jamaican Olympic trials last month. However, Jamaica, unlike the U.S., allows for medical exemptions and added Bolt to the Olympic squad for Rio.
This year Bolt ranked No. 91 on Forbes Celebrity 100 list with $32.5 million in earnings. The bulk of that fortune, mined mostly from his endorsement deals, comes from global shoe manufacturer Puma, which pays Bolt $10 million a year. All told, Bolt is the sixth-highest-earning athlete at the 2016 Rio Games, according to Forbes, ranking behind such superstars like USA Basketball’s Kevin Durant and No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic. Financial website GoBankingRates lists Bolt's net worth at $60 million.
What’s With That Signature Pose?
As much as he’s known for his speed and graceful strides down the lanes, Bolt’s gained just as much recognition for his signature pose called “To Di World.” Turns out it’s actually a popular Jamaican dancehall move, according to The Guardian.
Rio’s Not The Last Hurrah
While Bolt has said Rio is his final Olympics, fans will get to see him race at least one more time before retirement. Bolt told Sports Illustrated that while he’s looking forward to retirement he does intend to run at the 2017 World Championships in London.