Ahead of his record-shattering run in the 100M final at the ongoing London Summer Games, the BBC premiered the long-awaited documentary, The Fastest Man Alive (directed by French auteur Gaël Leiblang), an in-depth and utterly fascinating peek into the life – on and off the track – of living legend Usain St. Leo Bolt. Soon to be released on DVD, the film manages to absorbingly illuminate the man and his 'mystique' in just one hour. Below, some of my favourite moments:
1. Usain Bolt and his esteemed coach Glen Mills share a fascinating dynamic that often feels more like a close father-son relationship. I enjoyed watching the occasional verbal back-and-forth between the two of them, especially when the camera finds them arguing over technique, execution and work ethic.
2. The moments after Bolt was disqualified from the 100M final at the 2011 Daegu World Champs were particularly heartrending for the sprinter and his fans. But later that evening we get to see a seldom-revealed side of Bolt – the serene, introspective soul reflecting and quietly plotting a return to triumph.
3. Among Leiblang’s accomplishments with this documentary is how he also compellingly captures the young Bolt, fresh in the universe of athletics, and his (initially) reluctant rise to stardom in the wake of his exploits at the World Juniors and via the support of his doting parents and supersmart investors like PUMA.
4. And speaking of Bolt’s folks, in a way the film is as much about the sprinter as it is about his parents, Wellesley and Jennifer, who not only offer personal and deeply insightful commentary on their son but also make a point of journeying to all the major championships to witness their golden boy leave the world in awe.
5. Apart from the fierce competitor and the dedicated workhorse, Bolt is shown as a fun and fearless lover of life who enjoys everything from lacing up his boots for a game of football to deejaying a club in Rome where Bob Marley’s “One Love” inspires a hearty sing-a-long. “You have to enjoy life,” Bolt explains. “I don’t want to reach 50 and feel like I missed out on my youth.”