Usain Bolt: men's 100m and 200m

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am


Usain Bolt, Jamaica's reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder in both the 100m and 200m sprints, is back at his best - just over a month before the start of the London Olympics.

Organisers of the 2012 Games will be happy: Bolt is the biggest global star in any Olympic sport.

The 25-year-old runner, who won his gold medals on a diet of fast food such as fried chicken, is popular around the world for his shiny gold running shoes and pointing his arms skyward in celebration of his victories.

He won last week's 100m Diamond League race in Rome, in Italy, in 9.76 seconds - the fastest time in the world this year.

'If I'm in great shape nobody will beat me in London, that's for sure,' says Bolt. 'The only thing I have to worry about is putting on weight. There will be no chicken nuggets this year.'

The time was Bolt's quickest since he set the current 100m world record mark of 9.58 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. This time, he broke his own world record of 9.69 set at the 2008 Olympics.

'I just want to wow the people,' he says. 'I haven't competed in London for a while, so I'm really looking forward to it. I know I can go faster; If I'm as fit as I want to be, then I think I'll be in better shape than I've ever been. I guess, if I'm in great shape, with a good start, it should be a world record.'

Bolt's other world record, over 200m, was set at the 2009 World Championships, too, in a time of 19.19. This broke his own world best time of 19.30 recorded when he won 200m Olympic gold in Beijing. He claimed a third gold at the 2008 Games with his Jamaica teammates in the 4x100m - in a third world-record time of 37.10.

That Olympic year marked the time Bolt finally found his feet as a sprinter. After winning many youth and junior 200m gold medals - even setting a junior world record over the distance in 19.93 in 2004 - he looked set for instant success when he turned professional. But he suffered two difficult years of injuries before ending 2007 with a 200m silver medal at the World Championships.

Bolt's compatriot Yohan Blake and American Walter Dix are likely to be his biggest threats in both the 100m - held at the first modern Olympics in 1896 with a winning time of 12 seconds - and 200m, the first recorded event at the ancient Olympics in 776 BC.

In London, two of Bolt's compatriots, Shelly-Ann Fraser, the reigning 100m Olympic champion, and Veronica Campbell-Brown, the reigning 200m Olympic champion, will be running to retain their individual women's titles, and Jamaica's 4x100m women's relay Olympic title.

The women's 100m final is on July 4 and the men's on July 5; the women's 200m final is on July 8, the men's on July 9.

Fab Fact: Up to 2,000 athletes will compete in 47 events - the largest single sport at the Games.