9.58: When Usain Bolt became the fastest man in history

By Nick Mashiter, PA
PA Media: Sport

Usain Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds has stood for 11 years.

The Jamaican sprint king retired three years ago and, with no athlete looking like they will eclipse his any time soon, the PA news agency looks back at his heroics in Berlin.

The build up

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Usain Bolt was already the 100m world record holder from the year before. (John Giles/PA)
Usain Bolt was already the 100m world record holder from the year before. (John Giles/PA)

Bolt was already the 100m world record holder having posted 9.69 seconds when winning Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.

And in the semi-final he teased that something special might be on the cards when he clocked 9.89secs, despite easing down at the finish.

It was a warning to his rivals and a reminder to the Berlin crowd to keep watching.

The race

It was a year to the day since he lowered the 100m mark in Beijing and the Jamaican powered off from the start.

He was in control of the race after just 30m, with a world record already looking possible.

The hopes of Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell – who eventually came a distant second and third – were over before they had already begun.

Bolt stormed across the line a huge eleven hundredths of a second faster than his previous record.

Four days later he set a new 200m record of 19.19s.

The aftermath

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt lies on the ground after falling in his final race at the 2017 World Championships. (Adam Davy/PA)
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt lies on the ground after falling in his final race at the 2017 World Championships. (Adam Davy/PA)

The closest Bolt came to his own record was a 9.63s run at the London 2012 Olympics – where he defended his 100m crown.

By the time he was coming close to retirement in 2017 the Jamaican’s best was 9.95s and he closed his career with a bronze in the 100m at the World Championships in London.

It came just before a dramatic last race in the 4x100m final where he crashed to the ground after tearing his hamstring with 50m remaining.

The heirs to the throne

Christian Coleman celebrates his 100m victory at the World Championships. (Mike Egerton/PA)
Christian Coleman celebrates his 100m victory at the World Championships. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Christian Coleman’s 9.76s at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 was the fastest run for four years and the sixth quickest in history but still nowhere near Bolt’s time.

The American was the favourite for the Olympic title before the Tokyo Games were delayed until next year by coronavirus.

Canada’s Andre De Grasse – with a personal best of 9.90s – and South Africa’s Akani Simbine with 9.89s are quick but not in Bolt’s league while Yohan Blake’s run of 9.69s came eight years ago.

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