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Faster than Lightning: My Autobiography Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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About the Author
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter widely regarded as the fastest person ever. He is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since 1977. Along with his team-mates, he also set the world record in the 4×100 metres relay. He is the reigning Olympic champion in these three events, the first man to win 9 Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and a eleven-time World champion. He was the first to achieve a ‘triple-triple’ by winning 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays titles at 3 consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016).
His 2009 record breaking margin for 100 m, from 9.69 (his own previous world record) to 9.58, is the highest since records began.
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Top Customer Reviews
- Don't read if you are looking for exercise/sprinting technique.
- Be wary, hes currently the fastest man in history - of course he can be boastful.
- He's still young at times in his biography - he's not 'old' like most biographies written and that in itself is a reflection of what you can expect.
- Where will he go after 2016? we may never know. Let's just see where he is now.
So let's get down to the awesome part....
Before the Beijing Olympics. Before his Olympic record, there was a record time set by Usain Bolt which shocked everyone in Kingston, Jamaica - running 9.76 seconds for the 100m. Everyone began to criticise him, saying it was 'unofficial'. Critics were saying he didn't do it, the wind was in his favor (making times not count), the timer must have been wrong, or it wasn't possible. Who is this new guy think he is? Usain Bolt had barely been running 100m when he hit this time, but since it was unofficial everyone began to doubt him.
Then the New York Reebok run.
The announcer: "That is the fastest any HUMAN has ever covered 100 metres. Usain Bolt has listened to the critics for 2 weeks, they said his 9.76 seconds in Jamaica could not possibly have been legitimate."
He ran 9.72. Nine point seven two. He set the World Record.
Record. Set. He has silenced his critics.
It's as if Usain Bolt's life is dedicated to run one and two hundred meters faster than any other human being. (Remembering that 200m is HIS favorite field, not the 100m - but he also is the fastest there too! ). In someways he is an example of human potential. At some point in time, we thought we had a plateau in human speed, then all of a sudden... Bang! the records were broken the moment Bolt started his mark in 100m. It must be crazy and amazing how all this dedication is pinpointed to a number for him. Reduced to that number on the board.
At the same time, it can be scary. In Usain Bolt's autobiography, he shows how his title of being the fastest man can be stripped from him at any point in time. Anywhere, someone could be training for that moment to take his titles and his legendary "fastest man" title. Today the fastest, tomorrow, forgotten. Usain Bolt starts his story with his upbringing, at a young age, teachers noted his potential as a runner and he started to enjoy the crowd when he was at competitions. The 200m was what he enjoyed the most before he started running the 100m (he didn't like running the 400m - too much work! and he felt he could never run the 100m due to his height -as it takes time for tall people to 'unravel' in a muscle from crouch position).
He admits to his past laziness, riding his 'raw' potential:
"My Raw talent was out of this world, I used to cruise through practice and get by."
Then that changed when he got beaten. He Broke a record at the World Junior Championships 200m but even though he had won, even though he had beaten everyone... he lost to himself. He felt he rode on that raw talent as opposed to good training and consequently he got a new coach and started training the way he preferred.
"A killer athlete can't just roll up to the start line in any meet and expect to win without working hard. They can't hope to take gold medals or break world records without discipline. "
When he was lazy, he was beaten by Tyson Gay in the 200m - he had come second and everyone was pysched and proud of him. He wasn't smiling. He was unhappy. He wanted to know how Tyson, from behind, passed him in the 200m. The coaches words? Slack. Later he shuts his phone off, begins to watch what he eats and proceeds to train... he wanted to make a dent. He broke the world record.
Not to spoil his book but there were some very interesting notes and mentions:
- In the 2012 London Olympics Usain Bolt purposely turned around to Blake and whispered a 'shhh' as he mentions in his book (this was as a rebuttal not as disrespect to Blake!) - You can actually watch this online and be shocked when you see it!
- He had an extreme car accident in 2009 - almost dying and the car turning over and crashing. Legs and Feet injured too! He felt God was giving him a saying - you are meant to continue to run.
- He's a competitive guy, each time he had a rival - he steps up to the plate. He thrives on competitions.
Reading and watching Usain Bolt's runs was inspirational. There is no real limit, we can break them if we try. The Autobiography was a great read and I recommend watching the races he mentions (Olympics: 2012, 2008 and the New York Reebok time which are all available online).
Usain believes he was put on earth by God to win Olympic medals. How this advances God's ultimate plan, only God can know. His arrogance and lighthearted attitude is rather charming and disarming - up to a point. When you see him run and make his famous lightening bolt gesture after victory, it's entertaining. One feels his inner joy. But when you read about one 9.56 second 100 meters, followed by another of 9.72 and another of 9.84 and another of 9.45 etc etc - it gets tedious.
Usain, we learn, had never even heard of Carl Lewis until Lewis suggested that drugs might have played a part in Bolt's success. After all, Lewis was a champion in the Neolithic Era - also known as the 1980s. "I heard he won a few medals," Usain says. For the record, Lewis won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including 8 gold. Some of his records still stand. Usain so far has won six gold medals - which is wonderful, but still some perspective is called for.
Usain loves junk food and beautiful girls and hates training. He suffers, how he suffers. The book begins with him driving too fast in a car with two girls (unnamed) and totaling his car. He emerges with some thorns in his feet. One of the girls is "pulled lifeless" from the wreck - but fortunately survives. We hear nothing about her injuries or recovery - and lots about the pain Usain endures because of those thorns. Pages and pages on that.
This is a great example of a life unexamined. Usain knows what he knows -- sprinting, fast food, parties, dancing, Manchester United, video games -- and that's all he wants or needs to know.
I'll be interested in seeing how he fares as he gets older and retires from athletics. Others will emerge, his records will inevitably be broken, he will become an ex-legend. The question for him then will become, Is there any there there beyond sprinting?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Go for it Usain.