“Faster than Lightning – My Story” by Usain Bolt is an interesting autobiography of the fastest man on Earth! The book details Usain’s life from a young boy, his development through the World Junior rankings, up to his amazing Olympic successes in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
Usain Bolt is a two-time Olympian with six gold medals, world champion, and world record-holder. This is a particularly timely read in the lead up to the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics in August. At these next games, Usain aims to crown his legacy by winning another 3 gold medals in his 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay events. Watch out for the three-peat!
Review of Faster than Lightning, My Story by Usain Bolt
There is no denying the unbelievable talent of Usain Bolt and his dominance over the 100m and 200m sprints over the past 8 to 10 years. For Usain Bolt fans, you will love this book as it is an easy to read story. It covers his childhood in Jamaica, how he starting in running and his journey to legend status as a superstar athlete.
Usain shares with his readers a real insight into what makes him tick. He describes openly how he feels at different stages of his life. It was very interesting to read about how he felt during each stage of his major races, including world championships and his two Olympic Games.
Common traits of Olympic Champions
Similar to many other Olympic champions such as Nadia Comaneci (gymnastics), Lydia Lassila (Aerial Skiing), Leisel Jones (Swimming), Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon), Gabrielle Douglas (gymnastics) and Loudy Wiggins (Diving), Usain was born with natural talent. In addition, all these world class athletes were also very self-confident, with a strong competitive drive and a will to win from a young age.
But each of these journeys has been different and it is always interesting to read another story of the makings of a champion.
Unlike the athletes listed above, Usain was distracted from training at times by the enticing party life as a young male. He later finds some motivation in winning to make money. He wanted what other athletes had, he wanted more!
However, after a surprising defeat, he soon discovers that raw talent is not enough. He needed to work hard too. Usain then identifies that his real motivation is not the money but “I wanted to be a champ in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.” He focused hard on all aspects of his training from that point on and well…the results speak for themselves.
I was particularly interested to read about the mind games involved in athletics. This wasn’t just in relation to the mindset of each athlete. From the young age of 14, Usain analysed and studied the strengths and weaknesses of his competitors in order to strategise his races. He successfully used this to his advantage throughout his career. However, he also highlights the tactics that some other athletes use to psyche out their opponents before a race which I found quite eye opening.
Usain has undoubtedly won millions of fans with his engaging personality. But I have to admit I have never been able to feel totally comfortable with some of Usain’s antics and over confidence. That might just be the difference in my personality though. I am much more conservative, always promoting modesty to my kids. However, after reading his autobiography, I now have a more understanding perspective. Usain actually acknowledges and discusses his “acts of showmanship“ in the book.
He also describes life after his success in Beijing. This included increased popularity, fans and attention from girls. But it also attracted increased scepticism, added focus from drug testers, through to the responsibilities that came with the “Usain Bolt brand” development. Life was no longer just about running. There were significant commitments arising from sponsorships and endorsements. Keeping up his “entertaining performances” was an all important part of attracting crowds to major meets.
Key themes for Young Athletes
This book offers some great themes for young athletes including:
- Find your motivation. “Desire is the key to success.”
- Self Motivation is the key. The best coach cannot make you train.
- Raw talent is not enough to be the best in the world. You need to work hard too.
- Understand your own body.
- A strong relationship with a great coach that you trust is essential to your success.
For those interested in athletics and sport in general, this is also a great read. It is an interesting insight into the makings of the fastest man on Earth. With a better understanding of Usain and the competitive world of elite track and field racing, I look forward to watching him defend his three Olympic titles at the Rio Olympics in three months time!
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