Usain Bolt followed his wonderful Olympic year with an equally spectacular 2009. At the World Championships in Berlin in August, Bolt won 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay gold medals, just as he had done in Beijing 12 months earlier. It meant he became the first man in history to hold the 100 and 200 metres world and Olympic titles at the same time.
In the 100 metres, Bolt improved his world record with a time of 9.58 secs, taking over a tenth of a second off the previous record, the biggest ever margin of improvement since the introduction of electronic timing. He also won the 200 metres gold medal in a new world record time of 19.19 secs, breaking his own record by 0.11 secs. He was also a member of the Jamaican team which won the 4x100 metres relay gold medal. He was voted IAAF World Athlete of the Year for the second straight time in 2009.
At 1.96 metres (6 ft 5 ins) tall, he physically stands out amongst many of his peers and his achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname ‘Lightning Bolt’.
In Beijing in August 2008, Bolt had become the first man in history to win the 100 metres (9.69 secs), 200 metres (19.30 secs) and 4x100 metres relay gold medals (37.10secs) in world record times in the same Olympiad, and earn him the title of ‘fastest man on Earth’. Bolt’s 200 metres time broke the long-standing record of 19.32secs set by Michael Johnson in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Bolt became the first man to win three sprinting events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984 and the first man to set world records in all three at a single Olympics
After an early career affected by injuries and accidents, Bolt, encouraged by coach Glen Mills, eventually made his breakthrough in 2007, winning the silver medal in the 200 metres in the World Championship in Osaka.
Usain Bolt won the 2009 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after his performance in the Beijing Olympics.