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Reliving Usain Bolt’s sole Olympic failure, the occasion that birthed a legend

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt's dominance in the 100m and 200m disciplines for a total of eight years is one of the greatest achievements in the history of modern-day sports.

The name Usain Bolt is widely known by everyone across the globe, due to the unmatched exploits of the Jamaican.

Bolt was simply an unbeatable sprinter, one who’s ilk is unlikely to be seen for many, many years to come.

However, like many champions before him, he had a storied journey. In 2004 when he competed at the Olympic Games in Athens, very few people suspected that he would become this great.’

Then just 17 years, Bolt was in heat four of the men’s 200m race. The teenager was in buoyant mood, waving his hands to the crowd even before the race began.

However, things didn’t go according to plan and he found himself eliminated after just 60 seconds, having finished fifth.

That race was won by 22-year-old Polish sprinter Marcin Jedrusinski, but it would turn out to be Bolt’s sole failure in the Olympics.

The Jamaican would go one to become an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, including winning the Olympic 100m and 200m titles three times consecutively in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Having watched Bolt up-close when he suffered a disappointing bow in the quadrennial event back in 2004, Jedrusinski recalls how that failure spurred Bolt-on to become a legend.  

He did beat bolt in that race, but Jedrusinski ended his own career with just a solitary European silver medal as his achievement.

“At that time, I didn’t think I had beaten someone big,” the Pole told Eurosport Poland. “Usain was a sprinter who had already run under 20 seconds, but he was not yet world-class, and to be honest, I was keeping an eye on the other sprinters.

“I beat Usain and got back to the daily routine. Only later did it turn out that the world had never had somebody like him. It turned out I had beaten the legend.”

Indeed, a man’s failure is not the end of his life. And in Bolt’s case, that failure marked the birth of a legend. 

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