Usain Bolt made his first appearance at the Summer Olympics in 2004. He was just 18 years old and nursing a hamstring injury, and he failed to even make it out of his heat in the 200-meter dash. Then, of course, he went on to sweep the 100 and 200 in three consecutive Olympics, and become arguably the most dominant sprinter of all time. Bolt has since retired, and the Tokyo Olympics will be the first in more than two decades without him. Here’s what the 34-year-old has been up to since retiring, and his thoughts on the upcoming Games.
When did Usain Bolt retire?Bolt’s last Olympic appearance came at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, where he won three gold medals. He then returned to the track in 2017, in what would be the final year of his career. Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 world championships and was the anchor leg on Jamaica’s 4×100 relay team a few days later. He received the baton, took a few steps and winced in pain — stricken by another one of the hamstring injuries that plagued him throughout his career. Bolt announced his retirement thereafter.
How many medals did he win?Bolt won a total of eight Olympic medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016. He swept the 100 and 200 meters at all three Games, and helped Jamaica win the 4×100 relay in two of them. (Jamaica’s relay team also won in 2008 but was later disqualified after one of Bolt’s teammates, Nesta Carter, was sanctioned for doping.) Beyond the Olympics, Bolt also won 14 world championship medals — 11 of them gold. NEVER MISS A MEDAL: Sign up for our Olympic newsletter now WANT BEHIND-THE-SCENES ACCESS IN TOKYO? Sign up for Olympic texts to get exclusive access to the Games
What is he doing now?After retiring from track and field, Bolt first turned his attention to his other sporting love: soccer. He famously tried out for a professional team in Australia, the Central Coast Mariners, and spent about eight weeks with the team — even appearing in a few exhibitions. But ultimately, the soccer career didn’t pan out. In the years since, Bolt has dived into music. He’s produced several songs and has spoken about wanting to bring Jamaica’s dancehall genre to an international audience. And he’s also become a father. Bolt and his girlfriend, Kasi Bennett, welcomed their first child in May 2020 — a daughter named Olympia Lightning. Bennett gave birth to twin boys, St. Leo and Thunder, earlier this summer.
How fast is Usain Bolt?Bolt holds the world record in the 100-meter dash of 9.58 seconds. And no other track athlete has ever come within one-tenth of a second of that record; Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake both recorded times of 9.69. To put that in context: Bolt’s top speed during his record-setting run was about 27.7 miles per hour.
Is he still the fastest man in the world?Bolt still holds the world record, so yes, he is still considered the world’s fastest man. Though he’s obviously no longer in the elite sprinting shape that he once was.
Bolt told USA TODAY Sports in late June that he still does some workouts on the track, mostly just to “keep my legs fresh, keep my heart pumping” — and to spend time with his longtime coach, Glen Mills. And Bolt said the two men disagree on what time he could run in a competitive 100-meter race these days.
“(Mills) says I’d probably run 10.4. But I think I could run 10.2, maybe,” Bolt told USA TODAY Sports. “He gives me 10.4. I give myself 10.2.”
Who is his pick to win in Tokyo?
When asked by USA TODAY Sports who he thinks will win the men’s 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics, and become the first champion in the event of the post-Bolt era, the retired Jamaican sprinter said he’s stopped making predictions.
But he did say he’s “keeping my eye on” one U.S. sprinter in particular: Trayvon Bromell, who won the event at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and has the fastest time in the world so far this year.
“I feel like Bromell is feeling the best sign of really showing up,” Bolt said. “I’ve seen him this season. He hasn’t lost this season. And I feel like he came back from injury and his technique has changed, and he’s been doing a lot better.”
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.