Athletics superstar Usain Bolt’s last championship race ended in dramatic fashion as he collapsed injured on the track anchoring Jamaica’s 4×100 metres relay in the world championship final.
Here we pick out five of his best quotes and five about him since he first light up the championship track at the 2008 Beijing Olympics:
What they said about him
“There is no athlete that can compete with him… he’s a global superstar.” – Bolt’s predecessor as an athletics superstar, Michael Johnson, whose 200 metres world record Bolt broke in the 2008 Olympic final.
“You can compare us as sprinters, but the thing I am most proud of is that I did multiple events and I long-jumped.” -Damned with faint and grudging praise by American legend Carl Lewis who also cast aspersions as to the Jamaican doping system to which Bolt retorted: “Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him.”
“He is an icon. He is the best sprinter of all time.” -Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who was chided at the 2012 London Olympics for refusing to say he was a legend. Former Olympic yachtsman Rogge instead opted to nominate British yachting icon Ben Ainslie as his star of the Games.
“Nobody’s ever been faster than this guy! Ever! Of all the billions of people.” – Then-US President Barack Obama reflects on the global nature of Bolt’s stardom after meeting with him in Jamaica and then performing the lightning bolt pose with him.
“Usain Bolt is now Jamaica’s biggest ambassador. His personality, his ability to draw people to him (and) his showmanship have really given a boost to Brand Jamaica.” -Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness neatly sums up Bolt’s gift to the Caribbean island.
Bolt on himself
“I am Lightning Bolt! I am not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Bolt, Lightning Bolt.” – Bolt after smashing Michael Johnson’s 200m world record in the 2008 Beijing Olympic final to complete his first of three individual Olympic sprint doubles.
“Manners is the key thing. Say for instance when you’re growing up you’re walking down the street you’ve got to tell everybody good morning. Everybody. You can’t pass one person.” – Bolt displaying why he has charmed everyone along the way, never forgetting the strict but grounded way he was brought up by his parents, father Wellesley and mother Jennifer.
“People come to see you run fast, but they also come to see a show, a performance… that’s what I give them.” – Bolt savvy as ever and why athletics will miss him so much: not just for his jaw-dropping brilliance but also his ability to entertain.
“I’m now a legend, I’m also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson.” – Bolt after winning the 2012 Olympic 200m title to complete the individual sprint double double.
“If Queen Elizabeth knighthooded me and I would get the title Sir Usain Bolt. That would sound very nice.” – Bolt on the possibility of joining Mo Farah as a knight of the Realm. Not wholly implausible as he has been athletics’ knight in shining armour for nearly a decade.