Five times Usain Bolt reigned supreme on the track

From his heroics at Beijing 2008 to completing a hat-trick of titles at Rio 2016, here’s a look at the best of Bolt through the years. 

When it comes to sprinting, Jamaica has dominated in recent years thanks to star athletes like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Yohan Blake, and Elaine Thompson.

But a certain Usain Bolt was the biggest name of all and raised the benchmark for sprinters globally at the Olympics and the World Championships.

On his birthday (21st August), we look at five of the best moments from Lightning Bolt’s career.

Conquering Beijing

The sprinter from Jamaica was eliminated early at the 2004 Athens Olympics after a below-par run in the 200m heats.

But four years, Bolt came into the Beijing Games as a world-beater in the 100m and 200m races.

He did not disappoint, breaking his own world record in the 100m with a time of 9.69s.

Then came the 200m with Michael Johnson's world record from Atlanta 1996 of 19.32s in his sights.

While Bolt showboated across the line in the short sprint, his dip in the 200 was crucial as he clocked 19.30s to claim his second gold and his second world record of the Games and announce himself as one of the all-time greats.

Beijing 2008 - Usain B wins the 200m final and breaks the world record

Beijing 2008 - Usain B wins the 200m final and breaks the world record

Berlin Best

At the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Bolt cruised through the heats en route to the final.

Clearly in the shape of his life, the big man sprinted through the line to clock an astonishing 9.58 seconds, taking over a tenth off his previous mark.

In the same competition, Bolt also broke his own 200m world record, finishing in 19.19s.

A decade on, with the Jamaican now enjoying retirement, both records remain intact.

London Calling

The Sprint King went into the 2012 London Olympics as the defending champion in the 100m and 200m.

Pressure? What pressure?

He retained his 100m title in a new Olympic record of 9.63s, finishing well clear of his rivals to join Carl Lewis (1988) as the only man to successfully defend the sprint crown.

It was a similar story in the 200m as Bolt won in 19.32s, just two-hundredths outside his winning time in Beijing.

Jamaica swept the podium with Yohan Blake taking silver and Warren Weir the bronze.

That secured more history for Bolt who became the first man to win multiple 200m Olympic titles.

Commonwealth Return

Having injured his hamstring in March 2014, Bolt was out of action for a couple of months and just about made the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He only competed in the 4x100m relay, the event in which he had anchored Jamaica to gold at three consecutive World Championships and two straight Olympic Games, although they were stripped of Beijing 2008 victory when Nesta Carter failed a drug test.

Jamaica won their heat to reach the final with Bolt on the final leg, but they were only sixth fastest of the qualifiers and looked to have a stiff task ahead of them.

Jason Livermore led off with Kemar Bailey-Cole running the second leg before handing over to Nickel Ashmeade.

Bolt took the baton from Ashmeade just behind England, but he soon dispelled any doubts over his fitness by powering clear of Danny Talbot to claim gold in a Games record of 37.58s.

It was an awe-inspiring performance on the wet track at Hampden Park, and Bolt had again shown he was the fastest man on the planet.

Making History

At Rio 2016, Bolt was eyeing a hat-trick of Olympic golds in both the 100m and 200m.

His preparation had not been as smooth as in previous years with many suspecting he might be a touch rusty come the Games.

He could not afford to be far below his best with the likes of Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse presenting difficult opposition.

But he silenced his critics with a convincing win in the short sprint, improving through the rounds before beating Gatlin by 0.08s in the final.

De Grasse turned out to be his biggest threat in the 200m and the pair shared a memorable exchange in the closing stages in the semi-finals as the Canadian dared to try and pass his rival.

But in the final, Bolt was well on top as he finished clear of the field to complete his unique triple-double.

For good measure, he added another gold in the 4x100m relay to take his tally of Olympic titles to eight.

Lightning Bolt retired after the 2017 World Championships in London, a pulled hamstring in the 4x100m relay ending his career on a sad note.

But he has left a legacy for the ages, and athletics may not see a star of his magnitude for many years to come.

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