The title of being the fastest human on the planet is something Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has owned since he first broke the 100-metre world record in 2008.
That first world record came in New York, just a few months out from the Beijing Olympics. In just his fifth senior 100 metre race Bolt managed a time of 9.72 to edge past Asafa Powell. It was a sign of things to come.
The 21-year-old announced he’d double up and race the 100 and 200 at Beijing and the athletics world was buzzing as a result. He showed ominous form in the heats of the 100 barely getting out of second gear.
He broke the 10-second barrier in the quarters and semis en route to the final.
With all the pressure and expectation on his shoulders, the Jamaican produced the goods in the final. He set a new world record of 9.69 seconds and remarkably seemed to slow down towards the finish line, such was his dominance over the field.
This ‘winning comfortably’ mentality led some to question Bolt’s attitude, but Bolt refuted claims he was lazy and said the goal was always the gold medal and never about times.
If the 100 was impressive, then the 200 was phenomenal. Michael Johnson’s world record of 19.32 from 1996 hadn’t come close to being beaten.
In the final he nailed it once again. Bolt finished in a time of 19.30 despite a sizeable wind into his face.
Bolt had achieved the remarkable feat of holding both 100 and 200-metre world records simultaneously and he completed his whirlwind Olympic campaign with another world record by helping Jamaica to gold in the 4 x 100 metre final.
From that point on there was no stopping Bolt. He amazed the world again at the world championships in 2009 setting an incredible world record time of 9.58 seconds. Bolt attributed his stunning improvement to a focus on starting out of the blocks well.
He’s been unbeatable in the 100 and 200 metres ever since and backed up his Beijing campaign to complete the double at London in 2012.
Will anyone be able to stop Bolt adding to his six Olympic gold medals in Brazil?
Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.
The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics
50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian