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How tall is Usain Bolt? Bolt is 6 feet, 5 inches tall—height that makes him not just the “fastest man alive,” as the three-time Olympic gold medalist is sometimes called, but also “the tallest world-class sprinter in history,” according to Sports Illustrated. The Jamaican runner famously won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he became the first man in Olympic history to place first in both the 100m and 200m races. Bolt set world records in both events and ran on a 4x100m relay team that won another gold medal and set another world record. At the 2012 London Olympics, Bolt will aim to be the first runner in history to retain the 100m title—a feat that would make this 6-foot, 5-inch marvel a true giant.

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Bolt’s 6-foot, 5-inch frame makes him an unusual sprinter, as successful athletes in his field tend to be shorter. As Slate reports, world champion sprinters tend to stand between 5 feet, 9 inches and 6 feet, 3 inches tall. There are several reasons for this, among them the fact that sprinters need to produce rapid bursts of power, and taller sprinters sometimes have trouble overcoming “the drag of a big body.” What’s more, big guys like Usain Bolt are not always as graceful as their smaller counterparts. They can be gangly, and even though Usain only takes 40 or 41 strides in a 100m race—that compared to the 47 that Walter Dix took in 2008, when he claimed a bronze medal—leg span alone doesn’t explain his success.

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Luckily, Bolt and coach Glen Mills have developed “the ideal gait,” as per Slate, and that’s allowed all 6 feet, 5 inches of him to leave the competition huffing and puffing. In 2008, he ran the 100m in 9.69 seconds. Usain zipped through the 200m in 19.30 seconds, and his 4x100m team finished their race in 37.10 seconds. Although Bolt was beaten by teammate Yohan Blake in the 100m and 200m events in the Jamaican Olympic trials and later withdrew from the Monaco Diamond League meet—the last race before the Olympics—due to a “slight” injury, the sprinter says he’s ready to defend his titles in London. “The most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen”—another of his nicknames—is also a born marketer, and in advance of the London games, he launched an iPhone game called “Bolt!”

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