How a random bet paved way for Usain Bolt to become an 100m sprint legend

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ATHELTICS How a random bet paved way for Usain Bolt to become an 100m sprint legend

Mark Kinyanjui 18:00 - 30.12.2023

Bolt has gone on to be widely considered the greatest sprinter of all time, but he almost ever could have become an 100 meter specialist were it not for a random bet with his coach and masseuse in 2007.

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt has opened up on how a random bet with his coach and masseuse paved the way for him to become a record breaking 100 meter sprinter.

Bolt has gone on to become arguably the greatest 100 meter sprinter of all time, winning three Olympic Gold medals, multiple world championships and is the record holder in both the 100 and 200 meter races.

That is despite having been retired from athletics since 2017, and yet he the Jamaican still holds the title of "the world's fastest man": 9.58 seconds in the 100m and 19.19 seconds in the 200m.

However, he almost never would have become a specialist in the 100 meter race, considering he was initially a half-a-lap and full lap sprint specialist as a junior.

Bolt has finally revealed how he ended up becoming an 100 meter sprint specialist.

“In ‘07, in Osaka,the World Championships, I came second to Tyson Gay and I went back to my coach and said, ‘I thought I had it’,” Bolt said in an interview With World Athletics.

“‘I thought I could have done better’, then he says ‘We gotta do the 400 meters’, I was like ‘Coach, no, I don’t want to do the 400 meters’ and he was like ‘We have to do the 400 meters’.

“I was like, ‘What about me doing the 100 meters’? I was like ‘let us make a deal, let me do the 100 meters’ cause we were talking about my start time, ‘Let me do 100 meters. If I do a great time, I run the 100, if I do a bad time, I run the 400 meters.

“Like, this is random meet at the end of the season and I ran 10.03, and at that time, everyone was running 9.8, 10.3 kind of vibe so It worked for me, so I won my bet, and that is how I got into the 100 meters.”

Bolt is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012, and 2016). He also won two 4 × 100 relay gold medals.

 He gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the first person to hold both records since fully automatic time became mandatory.

An eleven-time World Champion, he won consecutive World Championship 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 metres relay gold medals from 2009 to 2015, with the exception of a 100 m false start in 2011. 

He is the most successful male athlete of the World Championships. Bolt is the first athlete to win four World Championship titles in the 200 m and is one of the most successful in the 100 m with three titles, being the first person to run sub-9.7s and sub-9.6s.

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