Ask any athlete what their ultimate career dream is and I bet you the reply would be winning an Olympic gold medal. The Olympics is the mecca of sports and every athlete on this planet wants to be a part of the biggest sports extravaganza on offer.
The Olympics is not only a huge event for the athletes but also for the fans as they get to watch some of the best athletes compete against each other for the most coveted prize in sports.
There have always been athletes at the Olympics who have put on a show for the fans and owned the games, hence sparks fly whenever the discussion about the greatest Olympian arises.
So, to simplify the matter, here we put forward five of the greatest athletes ever to grace the Summer Olympics:
#5 Usain Bolt (Athletics, Jamaica):
Some prerace clowning, a finger to the sky, head bowed beneath the shoulders, a slow start, a blinding finish and a now world-renowned pose. These are the few things that people in the stadium or in front of the television became accustomed to whenever they saw the greatest sprinter take the track.
As the speakers in the Bird's Nest Stadium blasted out the names of the sprinters taking part in the 100 m final, in lane 4, a young 22-year-old boy in the black and green of Jamaica kneeled down in start position as silence endured for the start of the race. In a field consisting of Asafa Powell and Richard Thompson, a Usain Bolt gold was a far fetched thought but on August 16, 2008, as hundreds of cameras flashed around one of the greatest stadiums in modern Olympics for athletics premier event, bang went the gun and in the blink of an eye the 6'5" Jamaican obliterated the world record with a time of 9.69 seconds, the world watched in awe as something special unfolded in front of them.
Bolt continued in the same vein for the 200 m race where he smashed the world record with a 19.19-second run to claim his second gold. He bought his successful 2008 Olympics to an end by breaking the 4 x 100 m world record with the Jamaican team.
Bolt was a breath of fresh air in a sport marred by doping fails to some of the biggest names in Justin Gatlin and Konstantinos Kenteris to name a few. The sport needed a savior and Bolt looked like someone it could bank on for the coming future.
When Bolt landed in London for the 2012 Olympics his throne was under attack by his very own up and coming countryman Yohan Blake who had got the better of him at the Jamaican Olympic trials in both the 100 m and 200 m. People doubted Bolt's ability to defend his Olympic title.
Bolt answered his doubters in style with a gold in the 100m in a record Olympics timing of 9.63 seconds, a full 0.12 seconds ahead of the silver medalist Yohan Blake. In the 200 m, he continued from where he left off in 100 m as he missed the Olympic record time by 0.02 s with a gold-winning time of 19.32 s over half a second faster than bronze medalist Warren Weir. Bolt was the first sprinter in Olympic history to defend his titles.
In his final Olympic Games, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Bolt was looking to cement his status as a sprinting legend. He left in no one in doubt of his legendary status with a clean sweep in the 100 m, 200 m and 4 x 100 m events finishing with 9 gold medals in his entire Olympic career, unfortunately, he had to give one away due to Nesta Carter's dope fail in the 2008 Olympics.
Even though Bolt may not have double-digit medals to show for at the end of his Olympic career, his mere charismatic presence along with his record-breaking performances made him a global superstar. His playful and unpredictable antics whether it was clowning around with mascots or discussing his pre-race McDonald's diet, Bolt never failed to entertain. Every time he sat on the blocks, people around the world sat with tantalizing anticipation that something special might be up the corner.
Bolt is once in a generation athlete and the Olympic games and the people around the world are privileged to have been a spectator to one of the greatest athletes and Olympians to have ever graced the track.