Famous all over the world for being the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt never forgets where he came from.
Usain Bolt will run his last big race on 4 and 5 August in London at the IAAF World Championships. This will mark the end of the career of probably on of the best athletes ever.
While his sporting prowess is well-documented, little is known about all the good work the Jamaican sprinter does for charity. Our video reveals a new side to the inspiring Triple-Triple Olympic Gold Winner.
The fastest human who has ever lived
In 2008, Usain Bolt became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record time. That same year, he also took gold as part of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team.
Four years later, in London defending his titles, he again took home all three gold medals.
Last year at Rio, his final Olympic Games before retirement, "Lightning Bolt" was confident he could do the "triple-triple" and knock the competition out of the water once again. Never in Olympic history, has anyone been able to pull this off. Until now 😉 He is the first athlete ever to have won three sprinting gold medals in three consecutive Olympics.
Usain Bolt may have the world at his feet now, but it was not always the way. He grew up in the Sherwood Content community in Trelawny, Jamaica, where his father ran the local shop. It was a humble beginning.
Located in Jamaica’s hilly interior, Sherwood Content has changed very little over the centuries. Old men still ride donkeys and, when Bolt was growing up, there were hardly any street lights or running water.
Since his success, the Olympic gold medallist has used his own money to bring electricity, a new sewage system, running water and a community centre to Sherwood Content. In 2013, he personally lobbied the government for a reliable water supply in the community.
"I was always taught that the fortunate help the not-so-fortunate," says Bolt. "And I had nothing when I was young, so I know how these people live their lives."
Run-in with the law
Ever since he rose to fame at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Bolt has been using his position to do some good in his local community. In fact, Bolt’s generosity has led to him getting in trouble with the police!
“Around December each year I would allocate a certain amount of my own money, about 30,000 US dollars, and I’d use that to help people who I thought really needed it," the 29-year-old explained in an interview with Runner’s World earlier this year.
“I train on a university campus and what happened was the students I’d helped would get into fights with the people who hadn’t got anything.
“It became an issue and the police kept getting called out to sort out the fights, so in the end they asked me stop doing it.”
Bolt is fiercely proud of his roots and tries to give back however he can. When financial hardship threatened his former school’s athletics programme, Bolt donated 1.3 million US dollars, as well as new sports equipment, including 50 pairs of football boots, to his alma mater, William Knibb Memorial High School.
"William Knibb played an integral role in the athelete I am today," Bolt told The Jamaica Gleaner. "So any time they call; or anything I can do to give back, I’m more than happy."
Since 2002, William Knibb’s track and field programme has been receiving equipment from Bolt’s sponsor, Puma, at his request.
“Believe in your dreams and that anything is possible”
Despite having to stop that particular charitable act, Bolt continues to help out deserving causes, and has set up his own foundation to help under-privileged kids in Jamaica.
The Usain Bolt Foundation is “dedicated to the legacy of happy children; to enhance the character of children through educational and cultural development, as they live their dreams.”
Since it was founded, the Usain Bolt Foundation has had a big impact on the Caribbean island on which Bolt grew up. The foundation has donated money to a home for children with special needs who have been abandoned by their parents, built a new playing field for the children of Bolt’s hometown of Trelawny, and secured maths software for local schools.
It’s not just his sporting achievements that has made Bolt a national hero in his home country of Jamaica, but his altruistic deeds as well.
"It’s important to have role models," Bolt told the Daily Mail back in 2010.
And for many children in Jamaica, he is the greatest role model of them all, inspiring a new generation to follow their dreams and believe in themselves.
On 10th June 2017 Usain prevailed in the final Jamaican race of his career, winning a 100m in 10.03 seconds at Kingston’s national stadium.
The last big race before he retires is on 4 and 5 August 2017 at the IAAF World Championships.