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Rio Olympics 2016: What you didn't know about the world's fastest man

Jamaica's Usain Bolt prepares before a men's 100-meter heat during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo / AP.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt prepares before a men's 100-meter heat during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo / AP.

Usain Bolt is the biggest star at the Rio Olympics.

Big enough to hire out the largest theatre in Rio replete with a DJ and Samba dancers for his pre-competition press conference. Big enough to go out and buy his own television for his apartment in the athlete's village because members of the organising committee took too long to deliver one.

You know his victory pose, about the hundreds of chicken nuggets that fuelled his break out Olympics in Beijing and that he's striving to become the first person to win three consecutive gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at these Games.

But there are wonderful parts of the Jamaican track star's history that are still relatively unknown to those who only tune in to what he's up to once every four years.

Here are five things you may not know about the world's fastest man.

THE MOST STRESSFUL MOMENT IN HIS LIFE WASN'T ON THE TRACK

Bolt begins his autobiography Faster Than Lightning with the story of the time he crashed a BMW M3 Coupe on a highway in Jamaica in 2009. It flipped three times and he counted himself lucky to survive. Bolt was anaesthetised from the waist down in a hospital soon after while doctors removed shards of glass from his feet.

The sensation of not being able to feel anything below his torso freaked him out. The doctor had told him it would take him 12 hours to regain full feeling but as he began to get a tingling in his toes and calves there was one thing missing.

"Oh crap, nothing in my d***," Bolt wrote. "My knee were good, my thighs, too. Please, God, there's nothing in my d***, Nothing...

"My hips. What the hell is going on with my d***?

"When a flash of feeling came around, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Forget the car crash - a numb crotch was probably the most stressful situation I'd experienced in my entire life."

HE STARTED RUNNING THE 100M BECAUSE HE'S LAZY

Bolt was first and foremost a 200m runner, only adding a second distance (the 100m) to his program in his seventh season in the sport.

His coach Glen Mills wanted that second distance to be the 400m, but Bolt hated the long (for him) 500m, 600m and 700m training repetitions, so begged for the shorter event.

"Yeah the riches on offer were high for a successful 100m sprinter - I'd seen that with Asafa (Powell)," he wrote.

"But I didn't care about the prize funds. My only aim was to avoid running the 400m. That was it, period. And I didn't imagine for one second that I would be a killer at it."

Mills didn't either. He thought it would take his charge forever to unravel his 195cm frame out of the blocks and the explosive burst required would put added strain on Bolt's notoriously dodgy back and hamstrings.

So they made a wager - if Bolt could break the Jamaican national record in the 200m (which was 19.86 back in 2007) he'd be allowed to attempt the 100m. If he ran quicker than 10.30sec in his first crack, he could add it to his program.

Bolt ran 19.75 at Jamaica's national championships in June, 2007. A month later he ran the 100m at a small meet in Crete. He ran 10.03.

"My ass was safe. I'd won with a time so quick I knew I'd never have to run the 400m again." Four races later he broke the world record.

HE WON WITH HIS SHOELACES UNTIED AT THE 2008 OLYMPICS

Seriously, look at the photograph. When Usain Bolt took sprinting to a place it had never been he was running around like a four-year-old kid whose mother was too busy doing his sister's hair to notice his laces were flopping about like Matt Shirvington's junk at the Commonwealth Games.

Imagine if he'd tripped. But he didn't, and fulfilled a personal pledge he'd recorded on his mobile phone entering the Games.

"Yo, I'm going to Beijing," Bolt said in a personal video message.

"I'm going to run fast, I'm going to win three gold medals, I'm going to come home a hero."

HE TAKES ANY SLIGHTS FROM RIVALS VERY PERSONALLY

A dominant theme throughout Bolt's book is how often he uses any moment of perceived disrespect from his opponents for motivation.

When compatriot Yohan Blake celebrated defeating Bolt in the 200m at the 2012 Jamaican national championships by pressing a finger to his lips, Bolt was incensed.

"(It) gave me such a fury," he wrote. "It seemed to me like he was telling the rest of the field to keep quiet - me included.

"'Hold up what?!' I thought. 'Seriously? Oh come on, man, what's going on here?'

"I couldn't believe what I'd seen... I figured everyone should show confidence and want to be the best... but to do it in a way that looked disrespectful to me?"

It was a reaction less exuberant than half of the scoring celebrations in the AFL and NRL in each weekend but Bolt made it a personal mission to destroy Blake in both the 100m and 200m in London. He relegated him to silver in both races.

HIS LATEST RIVALRY BEGAN IN SPITTING STYLE

Bolt's showdown with American Justin Gatlin is perhaps the most anticipated showdown of these Olympics.

The former doping cheat has been the most regular challenger to Bolt's sprint king mantle in recent years in his second coming in the sport.

They first lined up against each other at a race in Zagreb in 2011. Gatlin made an early impression.

"As we stretched and did our stride-outs from the blocks, he looked across at me, stared me down and spat in my lane," Bolt wrote. "I couldn't believe it, I laughed my ass off - it was too funny.

"'I'm running 9.60, and he thinks I'm gonna be scared because he's spitting in my lane? Wow, he must be the dumbest kid in the world."

Bolt won that race - and six of the other seven times he's raced the US stud.

HIS PERSONAL BEST SHOULD BE SUB-9.50

Bolt lowered the Olympic record of 9.69 he ran in Beijing to 9.63 in London. But he was berated by his coach after that final in 2012 because of a faltering finish.

Bolt had switched off mid-race when he realised the gold was he is. When he remembered the world record was still in reach he stooped for the line and lost his rhythm. Mills slammed him after.

"Bolt, you're an amateur," he repeated.

"You robbed yourself of the possibility of breaking the world record by half a stride ... You should be running 9.52 by now. You were in the shape to run that today, but you joked around too much on the line. If you'd been serious, you might have even made a time of 9.49."

Since Bolt began his dominance of the 100m his coach "has never been wrong about my times". The record should be lower. Let's hope it happens in Rio.

- news.com.au

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