Usain Bolt is widely considered the fastest human being to ever live.
He’s currently the owner of three world records (including individual feats in the 100m and 200m sprint), and it’s hard to imagine any runner will be able to come close to matching the hype he generated in his prime at any point in the near future.
This has been said a million times, but his greatness seemed almost predestined when you consider his name is “Usain Bolt.” How can you not be fast with a name like that? Guys like Tim Duncan, Tiger Woods, and Takeo Spikes all have perfect names for the sport they ended up playing, but nothing is quite as fitting as the one given to the Jamaican superstar.
The legendary stories of Bolt and his record-shattering performances run deep. They’re Bo Jacksonesque in that you find them hard to believe even though there are mountains of evidence to confirm their veracity.
Take, for example, his record-breaking run at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
At the time, the world record for the 100m already belonged to Bolt, who’d set the mark at 9.72 seconds a few months prior. However, he headed to China aiming to top that number, as he seemed to be getting faster with every day that passed during the peak of his career.
Now, most reasonable people would assume an elite athlete like Bolt was only fueling his body with properly portioned and cooked-to-perfection meals designed with his needs and metabolism in mind. However, that wasn’t exactly the case.
It turns out Bolt wasn’t a huge fan of Chinese food (which he thought was “weird”) and wasn’t super satisfied with most of the offerings that were being served up in the Olympic Village.
You’d think he might be able to use the resources at his disposal to get a chef to cater to his needs to ensure he was as prepared as possible to step onto the biggest stage of his career, but Bolt opted for another solution: an unholy amount of McDonald’s.
Bolt apparently spent the bulk of his stay subsisting on the boxes of McNuggets he repeatedly ordered before inhaling them.
It’s estimated that over the course of his 10-day visit to China, he consumed a total of 42,000 calories from chicken nuggets alone (4,200 per day); he’d order a box of 20 for lunch and dinner and then step onto the track to face off against the fastest guys on the planet.
However, Bolt also overcame another minor setback en route to breaking his own record in the 100m due to a slight issue he encountered while participating in the actual race.
Usain Bolt didn’t let an untied shoelace stop him from breaking the world record in the 100m at the Summer Olympics
The diet Usain Bolt relied on during the Beijing Olympics would be a detriment to any normal human being.
If I have any kind of McDonald’s, I’m out of usually out of commission for at least a full day; I’ll cancel plans, call in sick, and just lie down until I get the processed food out of my system—but when you’re an elite athlete, I guess your body just processes things a bit differently.
That wasn’t the only factor that should have impacted Bolt’s performance in the 100m sprint for the gold medal, a race that was held on August 16, 2008.
When everything was said and done, he went into full “Usain in the Membrane Mode” by completing the race in a record-breaking 9.69 seconds despite getting a late start, leaving his shirt untucked (which had the potential to increase drag), and seemingly pulling up a bit toward the end to gloat after realizing he’d secured the victory.
You also can’t overlook the fact that one of his shoelaces was untied by the time he crossed the finish line (if you take a close look at this picture, you can see it dangling from his left sneaker).
That only helped Bolt increase his mythos. At that point, it seemed like there was a pretty good chance he could’ve rolled out of bed in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, hopped onto the track barefoot, and still confirmed he was the fastest man in the world against a field of theoretically more prepared competitors.
It almost makes you wonder what would’ve happened if Bolt had eaten some healthier food or paid a bit more attention to how he was tying up his shoes prior to the biggest race of his life.
It’s worth noting he was able to shatter that record just one year later in Berlin with a time of 9.59, and when you consider he completed the race with both shoelaces tied, you have to wonder if it made a difference.