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Five moments which have defined the career of Usain Bolt

UK & international sports | Published:

The Jamaican won 19 global titles during a glittering career as a sprinter.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt brought the curtain down on his glittering career at the World Championships in London.

The 30-year-old Jamaican pulled up injured in the 4×100 metres relay, meaning he finishes with 19 global titles in the greatest career athletics has ever seen.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five of his most memorable moments.

Beijing arrival

Usain Bolt
Bolt celebrates winning the gold medal and breaking the world record in the men’s 100 metres in the National Stadium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Gareth Copley/PA)

A 21-year-old Bolt announced himself as track and field’s newest superstar with a brilliant world record to win 100m gold at the 2008 Olympics. Fuelled by a diet of chicken nuggets, he clocked 9.69 seconds, despite crossing the line with a shoelace undone and spreading his arms and slapping his chest in celebration before the finish. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge criticised his showboating as disrespectful. No-one agreed.

Berlin brilliance

Usain Bolt
Bolt won the men’s 100m final in a new world record time of 9.58 seconds during the IAAF World Championships in Berlin (John Giles/PA)

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Bolt cemented his status as the world’s greatest ever sprinter with two more eye-watering world records over 100m and 200m at the 2009 World Championships. He blazed to 9.58secs in the 100m – the biggest ever improvement in the 100m world record since electronic timing was introduced – and then took 0.11s off his 200m mark too, winning another gold in 19.19.

Daegu disappointment

Usain Bolt
Bolt celebrates winning the men’s 200 metres in Daegu, South Korea (Dave Thompson/PA)

Bolt’s hopes of defending his world 100m title in 2011 were dashed by a dramatic false start in the final. He knew immediately what he had done, ripping his top off in frustration. The mistake was proof he was human after all. His response – gold in the 200m and 4x100m relay – was inevitable and emphatic.

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‘Legend’ in London

Usain Bolt
Bolt kisses his gold medal after winning the men’s 100 meters at the 2012 London Olympic Games (Matt Slocum/AP)

Bolt arrived at the 2012 Olympics looking to become the first man in history to defend both 100m and 200m titles and, in his words, become a “legend” of the sport. He blitzed to 100m glory in 9.63 – the second fastest time in history – and added 200m gold in 19.32. “I am a living legend,” Bolt told the world’s press afterwards. “Bask in my glory.”

The ‘Saviour’

Usain Bolt
Bolt (right) only managed to win bronze in the 100m final which was won by two-time drugs cheat Justin Gatlin (centre) (Adam Davy/PA)

As doping and corruption scandals involving those at the very top of the sport left its credibility shredded, Bolt found himself cast as athletics’ ‘saviour’ in his sprint battles with two-time drug offender Justin Gatlin. The American went into the 2015 World Championships in Beijing with the four fastest times of the year over 100m, but Bolt defied the doubters to pip him to gold when it mattered, winning by just one hundredth of a second. He defeated him too in the 200m and then repeated the feat the following year at the Olympics in Rio.

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