Book Review – “Faster Than Lightning: My Autobiography” (Author: Usain Bolt)

Faster Than Lightning: My Autobiography

 

From Amazon:

The autobiography of the fastest man of all time and a superstar whose talent and charisma have made him one of the most famous people on the planet.

Whether you know Athletics or not, and even whether you know sport or not, chances are you know Usain Bolt. The fastest man on the planet, not just now but ever, Usain has won the hearts of people everywhere with his mind-blowing performances and his infectious charisma – uniting supporters around the world.
In this, his full autobiography, Usain tells his story in his own words: from humble beginnings in Jamaica, to international stardom at Beijing and on to the new heights of superstardom he has reached since lighting up London 2012.
Full of the charm and charisma that has made him the most popular sporting figure of our time and a universal celebrity, this is a book that Usain’s millions of fans will love.

 

Now with the outdoor athletics season soon upon us, I decided to prep up by reading this second autobiography from Usain Bolt.

The content of this book follows Bolt from childhood up to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last year and is your typical athletics fayre – his beginnings as a youth athlete growing up in Coxeath, his choice not to accept an American sports scholarship and, instead, ply the beginnings of his athletic career based in Kingston, his rivalries – some friendly, some less so – with fellow competitors such as Tyson Gay, Wallace Spearmon, Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell and team-mate Yohan “The Beast” Blake, his relationship with his coach Glen Mills and the effect of how he has become, for want of a better phrase, a worldwide “Brand” following his treble success in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

Bolt comes across throughout this book as a man of differing, sometimes contradictory, personas.  On the one hand, you see the dedicated athlete willing to push himself past the pain barrier (or as he calls it “The Moment Of No Return”) whilst on the other, you see a man who definitely loves to party and get taken to task by his coach.  You also see a man who loves his sense of family and friendship whilst being a competitor who carries a ruthless streak which belies his pre-race antics and showboating.

But this book uses the opportunity to show the author not so much as “Lightning Bolt”, the man of confidence and swagger, but a less secure personality who is aware that on any given day age, injury or the new breed of athletic talent can take away what he has fought for, and this is the more fascinating aspect of the book.

As an individual athlete, this book also allows the reader to get into his inner dialogue when racing.  I must admit that whilst it’s thrilling to watch somebody run 100 metres in around ten seconds, as an athletics fan I prefer to see the tactical display of the middle distance races on track, but “hearing” Bolt’s thoughts of his tactics makes me appreciate all the more the pressures that he’s under to perform.

Whichever side of Usain St Leo Bolt’s personality gets shown within this autobiography, you are guaranteed of one thing, it is a personality filled with humour, passion for sport and for life, and crackling with energy throughout.

The only personal drawback for this book is that it felt heavy going at times (it took me just over two weeks to read) due to some of the stories feeling repetitive with only the members of the cast changing – although that’s a risk with any sporting autobiography and cannot be solely aimed at this book.

As a book, it’s going to attract a niche market – either you’re a sports fan or you’re not – but if you ever wanted to get a little peek  into what’s it’s like to be “The Fastest Man On The Planet”, this book could be for you.

Rating: Try It

 

 

Photo from the London Anniversary Games – July 2013 Usain Bolt after competing in the 4 x100m Men’s Relay for his team, Racer’s Track Club

 

London Anniversary Games – July 2013 Usain Bolt entering the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium on a “Rocket Car”.  (This vehicle gets mentioned in the book)

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