As the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt has earned an honored place on the veranda of his aunt’s house and bar in their remote hometown, Sherwood Content. Several posters of Bolt flank a photograph of Nelson Mandela, a clock embossed with the Lord’s Prayer and a plaque featuring Big Mouth Billy, the novelty singing bass.
“She always makes me laugh,” Bolt said of his aunt.
It was a similar melding of the iconic and the playful that Bolt used to stun and charm 90,000 Olympic spectators in Beijing and a worldwide television audience last summer. While collecting three gold medals and three world records, he enjoyed himself immensely, pantomiming an archer drawing his bow and celebrating on the track with a dance called the Gully Creeper.
And now Bolt is hoping that his good-humored personality can be as transcendent as his speed, which produced records in Beijing of 9.69 seconds at 100 meters, 19.30 at 200 and 37.10 in the 4×100 relay.
Not only does Bolt want to revitalize track, a sport experiencing international decline, and redefine the limits of speed, but by the 2012 Summer Games in London, or soon after, he wants to become the first track star to earn $10 million a year in prize money, appearance fees and endorsements.