As I’ve read five of my seven print TBR books for this month, I decided to treat myself to a quick read and pulled this one off the shelf (It was next to “Running in the Midpack”, almost in the exact centre of the first shelf). I bought this from the Kings Heath Oxfam Bookshop; I recorded that I bought Craig Revel Horwood’s “In Strictest Confidence” at the same time, and I can say I was very much less disappointed by this one (you’ll find my review at the bottom of the quite other review I link to there!).

Usain Bolt – “Faster than Lightning: My Autobiography”

(13 June 2021, Oxfam Shop, Kings Heath)

It turns out I have two things in common with fastest man in the world Usain Bolt: we both dislike running cross-country races and we both have one leg longer than the other! So there you go. This is the engaging, honest-seeming and likeable autobiography, ably ghosted by my lovely client Matt Allen (whose name is on the title page and who is thanked in the acknowledgements for helping to get the words on the page: hooray), but sadly before I started working with him. Notably opening with a car crash which should have been more serious, it then rewinds to take us through his life from the early years or running around at school and wanting to be a cricketer through his development as an athlete, change from 200m and 400m to 100m and 200m, two Olympics Games and through to the 2013 World Championships in Moscow (so we don’t witness his third Olympics in Rio).

He’s honest about his shortcomings – being a bit slack on the gym work, liking to party, admitting he chose to move from the 400m to the 100m because both the training and racing for the 400m was too much like hard work – but he manages not to annoy us, with his cheeky persona and huge raw talent which even he admits could do with some help in the gym, and especially from doctors and massage therapists, to achieve those amazing things.

Although Bolt always appears so relaxed and chilled, even he has had moments of pressure and of difficult interactions with his home crowd: Jamaica appears unforgiving if you are a bit off or tired/injured when it comes to a big race. He’s also perceptive on the effect stress has on his competitors, noting their expressions and trying to help relieve the pressure, even, when he sees it in them. He mentions what he considered the rigorous drug testing programmes in Jamaica, angered at insinuations about his and others’ ability (he reminds a journalist forcibly at one point that no, he didn’t come out of nowhere: he had a history of winning ability right from schools championships as a child).

There’s a funny incident with an official when he wants to take a baton from London 2012 home with him, and an admission that he mislaid some of his medals once and just hands them to his team to look after. What is nice is that NJ, who travels with him and manages him, is a childhood friend, and he’s obviously very loyal to his family, too.

A fun and interesting read with more depth and psychology than you might expect.

This was TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 3 Book 3/41 – 38 to go.