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Why Usain Bolt isn't a nine-time Olympic gold medal winner despite equalling record

Why Usain Bolt isn't a nine-time Olympic gold medal winner despite equalling record

Bolt equalled the all-time Olympic record of nine gold medals - but now only has eight.

Sprinting legend Usain Bolt equalled the Olympic record for most gold medals in athletics with nine - but that was later downgraded to eight due to a team-mate.

The Jamaican holds the athletics world record in both 100 metres and 200 metres, and a national record at 300 metres.

He ran an astonishing time of 9.58 seconds at the London 2012 Olympics to set the world record in the 100m, with his 200m time of 19.19 at the World Championships in 2009 breaking his own record (19.30) set a year earlier.

To put his original record into perspective, it had originally been held by American icon Michael Johnson (19.32) for 12 years.

The 100m competition at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was billed as a possible three-way battle between Bolt, Jamaica team-mate Asafa Powell and American sprinter Tyson Gay.

The Jamaican pair ran similar times in the semi-final - although Bolt admitted he had slowed down during the final 50 metres to be fully ready for the final. Bolt did indeed save his best for the final, running the infamous 9.69 time and breaking the Olympic record.

Then came the 200m Olympic record, with Bolt then winning a third gold medal of the Games in the 4x100m relay alongside Powell, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater.

In 2012, Bolt won the 100 and 200m races again, and also won the 4x100m relay with the same team as in 2008 - except for Powell, who was replaced by Yohan Blake.

Usain Bolt points to his new 100m world record time of 9.58 at the London 2012 Olympics (

Then, in his final Olympics at Rio 2016, Bolt scooped another three gold medals in the same events, ensuring he obtained three sprinting gold medals in three consecutive Games. He had also won every Olympic final he ever entered.

In addition, Bolt equalled the record of most Olympic gold medals won in athletics - with Paavo Nurmi, who ran for Finland in the 1920s, and Carl Lewis also winning nine golds.

But in 2017 - the year he retired from competitive sprinting - Bolt was stripped of one of his golds after one of his team-mates was disqualified.

Carter, his 4x100m relay team-mate from Beijing 2008, was disqualified from the race after being found guilty of taking a performance-enhancing drug.

He had led the team in the final, with Frater, Bolt and Powell running the remaining legs on their way to setting a then world record time of 37.1 seconds.

Usain Bolt and Jamaica team-mates Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater celebrating winning 4x100m relay gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics (

The International Olympic Committee had retained frozen samples from the event in 2008, and traces of the drug methylhexanamine was found in Carter's A and B samples when they were retested nine years later.

As a result of his positive test, the entire Jamaica team was stripped of their gold medals from the final.

Carter filed an appeal against the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who dismissed it in 2018.

In 2021, he received a four-year ban from athletics, although by this point had already retired from sprinting.

Speaking to CNN shortly after Carter's positive test was made public in 2017, Bolt commented: "I haven't spoken to him. But I have no hard feelings.

"It's just one of those things that happens in life. Until I see him, I can't really say he did it on purpose or it was a mistake or I should be angry.

"Maybe if it had come before the [Rio 2016] Olympics, maybe it would have taken a little bit away from me and I would have thought about it.

"But the fact that I got the chance to say 'the triple triple', it kind of made me feel good."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Usain Bolt, Athletics, Jamaica, Olympics