by Mike Rowbottom - £6.99 Arcadia Books (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781906413828 | ISBN 10: 1906413827
Usain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet – and one of the most popular athletes of all time. His dramatic world record-breaking feats in the 100 and 200 metres have earned him Olympic and world gold medals in the last couple of years. But what has endeared this young Jamaican above all else is his playful attitude and winning personality.
In what is the first book about this phenomenal sprinter, Mike Rowbottom, a widely experienced writer on Summer and Winter Olympics, looks at the way Bolt’s prodigious talent has been shaped from his earliest years by a competitive system in his native Jamaica, which has produced generations of world-class sprinters.
At the age of 15, Bolt was 6ft 5in tall, and the youngest ever world junior champion, having taken the 200 metres title on home territory in Kingston. His course to the top was set – but it was not to be a smooth ride.
This book details how injuries and a lack of mental focus hindered his progress over the next few years until in 2005 Bolt turned to Glen Mills, the man who had coached his idol, Don Quarrie, to Olympic gold. Mills began to fine tune an athlete who was running into technical and physical problems, turning him into the performer who, within three years, was wowing the Bird’s Nest Stadium, and a television audience of millions, with his performances at the Beijing Olympics. The Bolt had finally found its mark.
Inevitably in a sport that has had too many high profile doping controversies, Bolt’s astounding performances – said by statisticians to be 30 years ahead of their time – have raised suspicions of foul play. Bolt readily acknowledges such concerns, and happily maintains what continuous testing has concluded – that he is running clean.
Here is a man whose talent, like others such as David Beckham or Muhammad Ali, has seen him transcend his sport to the point where he is known around the world for being himself.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2019)
In booklists: Sports Memoirs and Biographies, Black and Asian Biography and Autobiography, Jamaica, Running, Sports, In categories: History & Biography, Health & Wellbeing, World - Asia, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, World - Latin America & Caribbean,