Eleven years ago today, ‘Lightning’ struck when Usain Bolt broke the 100-metres world record at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Entering the Championships, the Jamaican athlete was already the man to beat, having set the 100m and 200m world records at the Beijing Olympics the previous year.
After an early season scare when he suffered minor injuries to his leg from a motor vehicle accident, he went on to claim both titles at Jamaica’s national championships, paving the way for his journey to his first World Championship title.
At the Championships, Bolt ran 10.20 seconds in the 100-metres heats, the third fastest time of that round behind American Tyson Gay (10.16 seconds) and Great Britain’s Dwain Chambers (10.18 seconds).
In the quarterfinals, Bolt finished second with 10.03 seconds in his race behind Antigua and Barbuda’s Daniel Bailey, who took it in 10.02 seconds.
However, it was in the semi-finals on August 16, 2009 where Bolt showed that he was in imperious form when he dropped a stunning 9.89 seconds, the fastest pre-final time to ever be run at the Championships, to win the race.
That jaw-dropping performance that would have set even the most iron-willed competitor on edge, and set expectations high for the final later that day which would see him face-off with fierece rival Gay and countryman and former world record holder Asafa Powell.
Not even Gay’s national record of 9.71 seconds and Powell’s season best of 9.84 seconds could stop the ‘Bolt Express’. In fact, they did not come close as Bolt lowered the world record from 9.69 seconds to an eye-popping 9.58 seconds! It was quite the early birthday present for the sprinter (he turned who would go on to claim two more gold medals in the 200m and the sprint relay, plus a world record in the former event, over the next few days.
Bolt retired from athletics after 2017 World Championships in London as an eight-time Olympic and 11-time World Champion and world record holder over the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.