Faith & Life, World

Usain Bolt, world’s fastest man – “With God all is possible”

September 14, 2021

Robaird O’Cearbhaill
Hong Kong Correspondent

The world’s fastest man, three times 100m Olympic gold medalist, and much more, was once invited to a 2013 Vatican conference on religious liberty. 

To run, Usain Bolt wore his St. Catherine Latoure-designed Miraculous Medal, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, over his shirt. He tweeted where his talent came from: “With God all is possible. I demolished the training today.”

Of course that talent was only possible with “hard work and dedication,” Bolt said several times. Other crucial influences were the influence of his father’s work ethic and solid  coaches advice and training, as he explained to the YouTube vlogger Yendi Phillips in a long interview. 

Bolt’s father told him: “Anything you want, work hard for it. One of the things I focus on.” Bolt admitted, “ I am lazy. I have to work hard.” If it wasn’t for his coach, and his parents’ supportive advice, he might never have been an athletic success.

Bolt’s coach realized that the mid-teenage runner was not old enough to understand what he was letting himself in for.

“He sat me down with my parents. He said, ‘This is what I want. This is what can happen. This is what we are striving for,’ because he understood I wasn’t mature enough to understand, and knew that I respected my parents. He wanted my parents to guide me, and help him keep me focussed.”

That was the serious athletic beginning moment for Bolt: “For me that was how it really started. It  took me a while to get into it. Afterwards, it was plain sailing.”

Bolt is considered the best sprinter ever and one of the most successful athletes for several reasons. Firstly he has unbeaten world records of the fastest times in the 100m, 150m and 200m and 4x100m relay.  Secondly Bolt is the only 100m and 200m gold medalist in three successive Olympics 2008. He also had triple successive Olympic golds for men’s relay but the first was later disqualified. Thirdly,  Bolt has a total of eight Olympics golds, and was champion 11 times at the World Athletics Championships, the most successful athlete at those games. With other world championships, he won 23 first places. 

       Coming from a poor family from a backwoods village, in an economically developing nation, Jamaica, international glory was very unlikely. Also unlikely to qualify him as a powerhouse runner because of his height and a spine deformity, So how and why did this athlete from a low socioeconomic status, become a legend?   Those answers next week in Part 2 of the amazing Usain Bolt, celebrated as the world’s top Catholic athlete. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)