Where Did Olympic Legend Usain Bolt First Learn to Run So Fast?

Published 09/27/2021, 8:45 AM EDT
BEIJING, CHINA – AUGUST 27: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200 metres final during day six of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 27, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


At just 17 years old, Usain Bolt became a professional sprinter and made his debut at the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda. Since then, the Jamaican grew in prominence, establishing himself as arguably the greatest sprinter in history.

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While millions across the world know about his legacy on the track, not many know about his journey in course to greatness. In a recent interview, the 35-year-old spoke about the moment that helped him become a world-renowned sprinter.

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Usain Bolt reveals what part of his childhood inspired him to run

On August 21, 1986, Usain was born to Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt, in the small town of Sherwood Content, Jamaica. Growing up, he often ate the staples of households in the Caribbean country.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the 35-year-old spoke about the kind of food which featured in the Bolt household. He said, “I was brought up in Sherwood Content, a small country town in northwest Jamaica.”

“Like every Jamaican household on a Sunday, we’d have rice, peas and fried chicken… My dad had a farm where he would grow yam, banana and potatoes, so we ate a lot of ground food.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after competing in the Men’s 4×100 Metres Relay heats during day nine of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 12, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images for IAAF)

However, he had a cheeky side to him when it came to fruit trees. While mentioning how he enjoyed fruits, he revealed how the need to run away from others’ orchards taught him to run as quickly as he could.

“Fruit trees were the best things,” said the Jamaican. “We could get mangos, apples, guavas, and anything you could think of straight off the tree without having to say, ‘Mum, I’m hungry.’ Sometimes you’d go to a mango orchard that you knew you shouldn’t be in and someone would chase you out. That’s where I got my first taste of running away as fast as I could,” he said.

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An illustrious career

The Jamaican sprinter made his Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Although he lost the men’s 100m race that year, it would remain his only Olympic loss. The next three Olympic Games in Beijing, London, and Rio saw Bolt’s legacy grow. He won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m events in each of those editions.

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Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts as he wins the Olympic mens 200m final in a new world record time in the Birds Nest stadium, Beijing on August 20th 2008 in Beijing, China (Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images). An image from the book “In The Moment” published June 2012

However, his 4x100m victory in Beijing was scrapped because of a positive dope test returned by his teammate, Nesta Carter.

‘Lightning Bolt’ also holds the world record in the men’s 100m, 200m, and 4x100m events. The IAAF World Championships in 2009 saw the Jamaican break his own record in the 100m and 200m events. In Berlin, Bolt clocked 9.58s in the 100m event and 19.19s in the 200m event, which stands to this day.

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Along with Carter, Michael Frater, and Yohan Blake, he broke the world record in the men’s 4x100m relay at the 2012 London Olympics. Their time of 36.84s stands to this date.

WATCH STORY: Top 5 Funniest Moments in Usain Bolt’s Career

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Sanket Nair

814 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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