Usain Bolt has been compared to Pele and Muhammad Ali in terms of global stardom. He's a sprinter unlike any other, a tower on the track at 6-foot-5 with a personality even bigger than his strides.
He has dominated over three Olympics since 2008. He holds world records in the 100 and 200 meters. He has set world bests with Jamaica's 4x100-meter relay team. He has eight Olympic championships, is the only man to win both the 100 and 200 in three straight Games and has 11 gold medals from the world championships.
But even the fastest man in the world has to slow down. At 30, Bolt is retiring, running his final competitive races in London in August.
Yet Bolt's legacy will last. Longtime Olympic historian and author David Wallechinsky puts him in a special class.
"What most impresses me about Usain Bolt is that he won the 100 meters and the 200 meters three times," he says. "It's great that Michael Phelps won the 200-meter medley at the Olympics four times, but how many people in the world have ever attempted this event? For Bolt to be the best at such a universal event for so long is amazing."
It's hard to separate one record-breaking performance from another, but here are Bolt's 10 greatest hits:
1. Breaking the unbreakable
Date: Aug. 20, 2008
Event: 200 meters, Beijing Olympics
Twelve years earlier, Michael Johnson ran a world-record 19.32 at the Atlanta Games, a mark some thought would stand for decades. Instead, Bolt blew away a fine field in 19.30, flying through the turn to enter the straightaway with a big lead and a sure win. His time of 10.0 through the first 100 meters (even against a slight headwind) was faster than Johnson's (10.12) in 1996. After winning the 100 in record time earlier in the week, Bolt became the first man to double in the 100 and 200 since Carl Lewis in 1984. After his win, he danced on the track in celebration and watched the replay on the stadium video screen. "I was just looking at myself and I was like, 'That guy's fast,'" he told a reporter.
Did you know: After the race, "Happy Birthday" was played over the public-address system at the Bird's Nest in celebration of what would be Bolt's 22nd birthday after midnight.
2. Gold medal No. 1
Date: Aug. 16, 2008
Event: 100 meters, Beijing Olympics
Bolt didn't get a great start out of Lane 4, but quickly accelerated. Maybe it was the fact that he said he was fueled mostly by chicken nuggets that day. By 50 meters, he pulled away, his golden shoes a blur; by 80 meters, he started to celebrate. With the win in the bag, he dropped his arms, looked back at his pursuers, patted his chest and cruised to a world-record 9.69, a .20 margin over Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago. If Bolt hadn't eased up, some believe he could have run as fast as 9.55. (He said he eased up because the win, not a world record, was his goal.) It was his first Olympic medal after failing to qualify for the 200 final at Athens in 2004. After winning, he jogged around the track, blowing kisses, dancing and waving the Jamaican flag -- instead of shaking the hands of his competitors (earning a rebuke from then-International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge).
Did you know: Bolt set his record with one shoe untied, the laces of the left one dangling at the finish.
3. The fastest man, ever
Date: Aug. 16, 2009
Event: 100 meters, World Track and Field Championships, Berlin
Bolt went all out through the finish to run 9.58, shattering his Beijing time. The record still stands. He shot out of the blocks quickly, took the lead at 30 meters and was pushed somewhat by American Tyson Gay, the previous worlds winner in 2007. "I think 9.5 is definitely a big thing," said Bolt, who set the record in the same stadium where Jesse Owens starred in the 1936 Olympics. "I'm proud of myself because I'm the first man to do that."
Did you know: The European Journal of Physics later calculated that Bolt -- who actually has a disadvantage because of his large frame that creates more wind-resistance drag -- at one point reached a top speed of 27 mph. His long legs help. "His stride length is enormous," MIT professor Anette Hosoi once said. "Every time he takes a step he covers a tremendous amount of ground."
4. 'Not a joke'
Date: Aug. 20, 2009
Event: 200 meters, World Track and Field Championships, Berlin
A year to the day after his record run in Beijing, Bolt shattered his mark by 0.11 seconds, running 19.19 after an initial false start to outclass a very classy field in which five runners broke 20 seconds. "I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke," said Bolt, who took command on the turn and pulled away. U.S. sprinter Shawn Crawford said it felt as if he were in a video game. "That guy was moving fast," he said.
Did you know: Bolt had been in a car crash in Jamaica earlier in the year and had missed several weeks of training.
5. A fast farewell
Date: Aug. 18, 2016
Event: 200 meters, Rio Olympics
In the final individual Olympic race of his career, Bolt wanted to go out by breaking his own record. He wanted to show that, at almost 30, he could still dazzle. Instead, he had to settle for Bolt-like excellence. He ran 19.78, far off his world record, but good enough to beat silver medalist Andre De Grasse (20.02) by a good margin. "I wanted to run faster," Bolt said. "But my legs decided it wasn't happening." Yet it was still a historic achievement. His 200 victory secured a golden double (100 and 200) for an unprecedented third straight Olympics. No one before Bolt had done it twice. After winning, he lingered on the track with the Jamaican flag, taking selfies and hugging fans.
Did you know: Bolt became the third Olympian to win two individual events at three Olympics, joining swimmer Michael Phelps and long jumper Ray Ewry.
6. Becoming "immortal"
Date: Aug. 13, 2016
Event: 100 meters, Rio Olympics
Bolt suffered a hamstring injury at the Jamaican national championships earlier in the year and missed several weeks of training, but was fit in time for the Games. He ran a strong 9.86 in the semifinals -- even though he eased up -- to indicate he might be primed for a very fast final. Instead, he got off to a slow start and had to run down American Justin Gatlin over the final 25 meters to win his third straight Olympic 100 crown in 9.81. It was the slowest 100 in his six career Olympic or world championship victories, and the only one of his individual Olympic wins that seemed in doubt. His third straight Olympic victory in the event pushed him past Lewis, who had 100 golds in the 1984 and '88 Games. "Someone said I can become immortal. Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Immortal," Bolt said.
Did you know: Bolt's longtime rival Gatlin, too, completed a remarkable achievement, joining Bolt in winning medals in the 100 in three different Games. Gatlin won gold in 2004, bronze in 2012 and silver in 2016.
7. Faster than in Beijing
Date: Aug. 5, 2012
Event: 100 meters, London Olympics
Bolt went into the London Games looking vulnerable because of back and hamstring issues and a surprising loss at the Jamaican championships in June. Plus, he didn't win the 100 worlds title the year before because of a false start. Yet Bolt was vintage again, outracing an extremely fast field in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds, just .05 seconds off his world mark and better than his record 9.69 in Beijing. Typically, Bolt's start wasn't great, and he didn't have the lead after 50 meters. Then, he burst ahead and won by more than a stride over teammate Yohan Blake (9.75) and Gatlin (9.79) in the first Olympic 100 in which all three medalists broke 9.8 and seven of eight broke 10 seconds.
Did you know: In June, Bolt had lost to Blake, who ran 9.75, in the 100 final in Kingston. He beat Bolt by 0.11 seconds. Bolt's coach, Glen Mills, didn't think it would faze Bolt in London. Said Mills: "He's a tough cookie. I think he'll survive."
8. Relay rocket
Date: Aug. 11, 2012
Event: 4x100-meter relay, London Olympics
When American anchor sprinter Ryan Bailey received the baton from Gay, he was even with Bolt, who received the handoff from fellow Jamaican Blake. Quickly, that changed. Bolt accelerated to pull away and give his team a gold medal in world-record time (36.84), despite the fact the Americans had equaled the world record of 37.04 set by Jamaica in 2011. Bolt's anchor leg was timed in 9.22. The gold was Bolt's third of the London Games and his second 4x100 Olympic victory in two tries (his 2008 win would later be nullified because of a teammate's positive test for a banned substance). He also helped Jamaica win the 4x100 at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.
Did you know: At the end of the race, Bolt begged a race official to let him keep the baton, but he was denied. Later, officials returned the baton to Bolt, who had his teammates sign it.
9. Introducing Mr. Bolt
Date: May 31, 2008
Event: 100 meters, Reebok Grand Prix, New York City
Bolt had been a rising star in Jamaica since his youth, yet the 100 wasn't his race. He specialized in the 200 and 400. When he made the 2004 Olympic team, it was in the 200. But in 2008, he showed he would be a force at the shorter distance. Running in just his fifth 100 as a pro, he ran 9.72 to break the world record of 9.74 set by Asafa Powell in 2007. Bolt had a fine start, took the lead and stayed comfortably ahead of reigning world champ Gay, who ran 9.85.
Did you know: A false start by another runner wiped out a bad start by Bolt, who then got off to a much better jump in the second start. He knew he may not have won otherwise.
10. Reclaiming the crown
Date: Aug. 11, 2013
Event: 100 meters, World Track and Field Championships, Moscow
Bolt regained his world title after being eliminated in the 2011 final because of his false start. He ran a 9.77 on a wet track -- he pretended to be holding an umbrella just before getting into the starting blocks -- to easily fend off Gatlin (9.85). At 50 meters, he trailed Gatlin and teammate Nesta Carter before pulling away.
Did you know: Bolt proved to be the fleetest of the fastest nation. Four Jamaicans reached the final, with all four finishing in the top five.