Usain Bolt’s career is as much about his showmanship as his world records.
The best thing about Usain Bolt is that he knows how fast he is. If he’s winning a race by a healthy enough margin, odds are he’ll ease off the gas and cruise into the finish line—just because he can. I’m so much better than everyone I don’t even have to try.
Grinning over the last 20 meters on Sunday was just the latest example of his easygoing dominance. Let’s take a look at his best premature celebrations.
5. 2011 World Championships, 100m heats
What makes this one gutsy is that he doesn’t even look at the guy gaining on him Lane 8. He just knows he’s that good.
4. 2009 World Championships, 100m Round 2
Look at how calmly he surveys his competition. It’s not the final, so he knows he doesn’t have to win. Instead, he just keeps an eye on the guys behind him, making sure they aren’t going to qualify ahead of him.
3. 2015 World Championships, 200m final
Justin Gatlin was in great position to upset Bolt at the 2015 Worlds before Bolt pulled away in the final few meters. He trailed entering the straightaway, but by the time he was near the line his lead was large enough that he could pump his chest triumphantly.
2. 2016 Olympics, 100m semifinals
The moment that launched a million memes. This is a great reminder that not only is Bolt the best, he’s having the most fun doing it.
1. 2008 Olympics, 100m final
Yes, Bolt’s ear-to-ear grin this weekend went viral, but this showmanship is so much more impressive. He eased up well before the finish line and still managed to break his own world record.