What is the age of Usain Bolt

9.58 seconds: Usain Bolt's fable world record turns ten years old

| Athletics history

Martin Neumann

No other athlete has shaped athletics as much in the recent past as Usain Bolt. His sprint world records are unchallenged at the top of the list of the best. Ten years ago today, the Jamaican ran the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. Leichtathletik.de looks back on the record race at the 2009 World Cup in Berlin and a unique career.


When Usain Bolt picked up the megaphone ten years ago today, close combat experience is required. In rows of ten, the journalists jostle at the barriers in the catacombs of the Berlin Olympic Stadium. On this late Sunday evening, in the mixed zone of the 2009 World Athletics Championships, a mixture of smells from sweat and the damp, heated plastic floor wafts away. The thermometer still shows well over 20 degrees, it was well over 30 degrees on the afternoon of August 16, 2009 in the German capital.

If you are right at the front, you can hardly pull out your pen. It's that tight. Hundreds of journalists want to know from the fastest person of all time how he just did it: to run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and improve his own world record by eleven hundredths of a second.

There has never been such an enormous increase in the world record since the sprint times from 1968 onwards are only determined electronically. On that day, Usain Bolt made sports history in front of 51,113 spectators. The world record still exists. With Tyson Gay (USA) and Bolt's Jamaican compatriot Yohan Blake, who both had to serve doping bans in the course of their careers, only two other sprinters stayed under the 9.70-second mark with 9.69 seconds.

Usain Bolt's first World Cup triple, two more to follow

It quickly becomes clear that the megaphone promptly provided by the World Cup organization is not enough on this special evening. All other questions will be put to the record sprinter at the big press conference. More should follow in Berlin: after the 200-meter world record of 19.19 seconds four days later and the triumph with Jamaica's sprint relay in 37.31 seconds two days later. But above all, the 9.58 seconds shine. A record that will last forever. "I want to become a legend," said Usain Bolt after his first gold triple at world championships. Two more followed, in 2013 and 2015.

Usain Bolt managed what was probably the perfect sprint race at the age of 22 years and 360 days. At 9:44 p.m. with an optimal sprint temperature of 26 degrees and 39 percent humidity, the eight-time Olympic champion got off to a successful start with a tail wind (+0.9 m / sec). After a quick reaction time of 0.146 seconds for his height of 1.96 meters, he is already ahead in the World Cup final after 20 meters. With 2.88 seconds he is already two hundredths ahead of Richard Thompson (Trinidad & Tobago) on lane eight, three hundredths ahead of his compatriot Asafa Powell, who should be third with 9.84 seconds and four hundredths ahead of Tyson Gay (9.71 sec; second in US record). The world record holder only needed 41 steps from start to finish. (The record race in the video.)

The prime minister congratulates immediately after the record race

“I was ready for this world record and I'm proud that I managed to break it. This is sure to be a big moment in athletics history and for Jamaica too, ”said Usain Bolt after the race that his parents were watching in the stadium. Incidentally, one of the first to congratulate was Jamaica's Prime Minister. Bruce Golding picked up the phone immediately after the record race at home and conveyed his congratulations to the most famous Jamaican after Bob Marley on behalf of an entire proud nation.

The biomechanics determined that Usain Bolt was the fastest in the record race in all 20-meter sections. From around 30, 35 meters, it seems to break away from the competition with ease. As if it were the run-up to a small meeting, not the World Cup final with the best sprinters in the world. For the section between 60 and 80 meters, Usain Bolt stopped a phenomenal 1.61 seconds. He passed the 60-meter mark after 6.31 seconds.

For comparison: Maurice Greene's indoor world record over 60 meters was 6.39 seconds. In the meantime, Christian Coleman (both USA) has increased this in the performance-enhancing height of Albuquerque to 6.34 seconds. Still three hundredths slower than Usain Bolt in Berlin.

Top speed: 44.72 km / h

Usain Bolt reached his top speed in Berlin at 67.90 meters. He accelerated almost 15 meters further than the competition, whose top speed was reached after 54 meters (Powell) and 55 meters (Gay). Speaking of top speed: Usain Bolt measured 44.72 km / h on the blue track of the Olympic Stadium. A bare number. But you just close your eyes for a moment and imagine a cyclist rushing past you at 45 km / h.

Usain Bolt has shaped athletics like no other athlete before him. For the Jamaican, the stadium has always been a stage. Often enthusiastic, sometimes arrogant, he performed his show until the 2017 World Cup in London, when he had to give up injured as the season's final runner in the World Cup final a few days before his 31st birthday. A week earlier, he had won another World Cup bronze over 100 meters. But body and mind were tired from 15 years of competitive sport.

The toughest race as a 15-year-old

When Usain Bolt talks about his toughest race, he doesn't mean an Olympic or World Cup final. It's the 2002 U20 World Cup in his hometown of Kingston. 35,000 fans in the jam-packed national stadium of the Jamaican capital roar the name of a 15-year-old. Schlacks, who grew up in humble circumstances in Trelawny in the north of the island, runs a little impetuously through the curve, but in the end he runs away from the competition in the 200-meter final with 20.61 seconds. At 15 years and 332 days, he became the youngest U20 world champion of all time.

Till Helmke (TSV Friedberg-Fauerbach) was aware that a very special athlete won the title there. The reigning Hessen record holder over 200 meters (20.37 seconds) was seventh in the final in Kingston with 21.10 seconds. "If someone runs such a time and clearly prevails against athletes who are a few years older, then the athlete must have enormous potential," says the Beijing Olympic fourth over 4x100 meters in retrospect.

Handshake before the U20 World Cup final

The 35-year-old still remembers another incident: the sportsman Usain Bolt. “Before the final in the call room, he shook hands with every competitor and wished them luck. I have never experienced that before or after. That may be the case with decathletes. But this is absolutely unusual among sprinters. "

Even after his youth, the 200 meters were considered Usain Bolts special route for years. His coach Glen Mills believed that his protégé should run the 200 and 400 meters because of his size. But Usain Bolt resisted the hard training for the stadium round. He would rather try the 100 meters. Coach Mills gave the green light. In his fourth serious 100-meter race, the Jamaican ran a world record of 9.72 seconds in New York on May 31, 2008. He increased it on August 16, 2008 with an open shoelace at the Olympic Games in Beijing to 9.69 seconds. Exactly one year later, the unforgettable record run in Berlin follows. 9.58. Three digits for the sprint eternity.