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Happy Birthday, Usain Bolt! Five reasons why the world adores the Jamaican sprinter

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 3:50 IST

Usain Bolt, the man who's known to set the race track on fire, is all set for a very busy weekend. The Jamaican sprinter who celebrates his 29th birthday on 21 August, will have to cut his celebrations short because of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing which starts from 22 August.

Arguably the fastest man on earth, Bolt will take the track on 23 August to defend his first-place finish in the 100m race from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. The Jamaican sprinter ran the race in 9.77 seconds in 2013, and will face stiff competition, including USA's Justin Gatlin, who boasts a season's best 100m time of 9.74 seconds.

The 'good versus evil' showdown between Bolt - cast as the saviour of the sport amid allegations of widespread doping which have dominated the lead-up to the Championships - and Gatlin, banned twice for anti-doping offences, is the most eagerly anticipated 100m final of recent times.

As the six-time Olympic champion gears up to challenge his rivals on Sunday, let's take a look the top five moments in the career of Usain Bolt on his 29th birthday:

Bolt announces his arrival in style
Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt, on 31 May 2008, created a new world record in the 100m category with a 9.72 seconds finish at the Reebok Grand Prix held in the Icahn Stadium in New York City. Bolt broke the record of his fellow countryman Asafa Powell who had recorded 9.74 seconds in the same category in 2007.

'Lightning Bolt' hits Beijing Olympic track
Usain Bolt

After creating a world record in 100 m, Usain Bolt was expected to shine at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but no one could have possibly predicted what really unfolded at the race track. Bolt broke new ground in the 100m final, winning the race in 9.69 seconds - a new world record in that category. In the 200m category, Bolt broke Michael Johnson's world record of 19.32 seconds with his time of 19.30 seconds - a new world and Olympic record. The feat made him the first sprinter to hold both 100m and 200m world records simultaneously since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977.

Two days later, Bolt ran as the third leg in the Jamaican 4x100m relay team, increasing his gold medal total to three. Running alongside his teammates Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, and Asafa Powell, Bolt broke another world and Olympic record, their 37.10 seconds finish breaking the previous record by three-tenths of a second.

Bolt shines at the IAFF World Athletics Championships
Usain Bolt

At the 2009 IAFF World Athletics Championships in August, Usain Bolt eased through the 100m heats, clocking the fastest ever pre-final performance of 9.89 seconds. In the final, Bolt improved his world record with a time of 9.58 seconds to win his first World Championship gold medal. Taking over a tenth of a second off the previous best mark, this was the largest ever margin of improvement in the 100 m world record since the beginning of electronic timing.

In the 200m final, the Jamaican broke his own record by 0.11 seconds, finishing with a time of 19.19 seconds. He won the 200 m race by the biggest margin in World Championships history, even though the race had three other athletes running under 19.90 seconds, the greatest number ever in the event.

Bolt continues to shine at the Olympics
Usain Bolt

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Usain Bolt won the 100m race with a time of 9.63 seconds - a new Olympic record in that category. The Jamaican sprinter followed up that impressive performance with a successful defence of his 200m gold medal with a time of 19.32 seconds. The feat made Bolt the first man in history to defend both the 100m and 200m Olympic sprint titles.

Bolt was also part of Jamaica's gold-medal winning 4x100m relay team that broke the country's previous world record of 37.04 seconds from 2011. Jamaica's team comprised of Bolt, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake won the race with a time of 36.84 seconds.

Bolt sizzles at the Commonwealth Games
Usain Bolt

A hamstring injury in March 2014 had caused Usain Bolt to miss nine weeks of training. Having recovered from surgery, Bolt competed in the 4x100m relay of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and bagged a gold medal with a time of 37.58 seconds - a Commonwealth Games record.

In August 2014, the Jamaican sprinter recorded the indoor 100m world record with a time of 9.98 seconds in Warsaw.

First published: 21 August 2015, 4:54 IST
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.