Ten Things You Didn't Know About Usain Bolt



Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won gold in the Men's 100 meter final in the London 2012 Olympics on Sunday, becoming only the second sprinter to win two consecutive 100m Olympic races.

LONDRES 2012 - Usain BOLT double champion... par VideosMediaStudio

Bolt shot to fame during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and his 9""63 performance last night - the second fastest time ever - confirmed his star status. The Nouvel Observateur has collected some little-known facts about the fastest man in the world:

1. His right leg is shorter than his left by approximately 1.5 centimeters, a result of his atypical running style. Bolt runs with his bust outright and his head straight, which has unbalanced his pelvis.

2. Instead of leading an extravagant party life, he likes to hang out with friends at his house in Kingston, Jamaica, and play dominos late into the night. He is also a fan of video games and sometimes plays the Fifa soccer game with fellow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake before competitions.

3. He works harder than you think: Bolt takes it easy at home, but he goes all out during training. In a France 2 documentary, his father says he once says he saw Bolt throw up during training.

4. He wanted to be a professional cricket player. Cricket is a very popular sport in Jamaica, where Bolt and his friends imitated their favorite Indian and Pakistani players when they were young. Bolt was a fan of Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

5. Bolt was mischievous and restless as a child, and his father sometimes beat him. Bolt's exasperated parents took him to a doctor, who diagnosed him with hyperactivity.

6. In an interview with l'Equipe Mag, Bolt tells how he witnessed the accident that killed his grand-father when he was nine years old. "My grand-father died in front of my eyes. We had an outside kitchen and the ground was humid. He slipped. His skull hit the door," he said. "It was strange, I didn't feel any panic or anything like it. I don't think I realized what happened. I only understood the event a few days later, during the funeral."

7. He started early: he took part in the junior world championships when he was 15, winning the 200 meter race. A year later, during the panamerican championships, he broke the junior world record for 200m with 20""13. The "Bolt" was born.

8. He once failed miserably at the Olympics: before London and Beijing, his 2004 Athens Olympics ended very badly. Injured, under pressure and only 17-years-old, he was eliminated in the first round of the 200m race.

9. After the Athens Olympics and another failed race during the world championships two years later, Bolt came under a lot of fire in Jamaica. The man who is now the country's greatest athletic star was then heavily criticized for his alleged lack of training and too much partying.

10. He sees "Healing Hans," a 70-year-old German doctor who treats elite athletes at his clinic in Munich using unconventional and controversial techniques, including injections of Actovegin, a product derived from calf's blood. The Jamaican sprinter was introduced to Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt by Glenn Mills, Bolt's coach.

Pic: Usain Bolt strikes his famous pose after winning the #100mfinal at #London2012 - a fantastic moment…

— London 2012 (@London2012) August 5, 2012

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Erdogan And Boris Johnson: A New Global Power Duo?

As Turkey fears the EU closing ranks over defense, Turkish President Erdogan is looking to Boris Johnson as a post-Brexit ally, especially as Angela Merkel steps aside. This could undermine the deal where Ankara limits refugee entry into Europe, and other dossiers too.

Johnson and Erdogan in NYC on Sept. 20

Carolina Drüten and Gregor Schwung


BERLIN — According to the Elysée Palace, the French presidency "can't understand" why Turkey would overreact, since the defense pact that France recently signed in Paris with Greece is not aimed at Ankara. The agreement covers billions of euros' worth of military equipment, and the two countries have committed to come to each other's aid if they are attacked.

Although Paris denies this, it is difficult to see the agreement as anything other than a message, perhaps even a provocation, targeted at Turkey.

Officially, the Turkish government is unruffled, saying the pact doesn't represent a military threat. But the symbolism is clear: with the U.S., UK and Australia recently announcing the Aukus security pact, Ankara fears the EU may be closing ranks when it comes to all military issues.

What will Aukus mean for NATO?

Turkey has long felt left out in the cold, at odds with the European Union over a number of issues. Yet now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is setting his sights on another country, which also wants to become more independent from Europe: the UK.

Europe's approach to security and defense is changing dramatically. Over the past few months, while the U.S. was negotiating the Aukus pact with Britain and Australia behind the EU's back, a submarine deal between Australia and France, which would have been worth billions, was scrapped.

The EU is happy to keep Erdogan waiting

Officially, Turkey is keeping its cards close to its chest. Addressing foreign journalists in Istanbul, Erdogan's chief advisor Ibrahim Kalin said the country was not involved in Aukus, but they hope it doesn't have a negative impact on NATO. However, the agreement will have a significant effect on Turkey.

"Before Aukus, the Turks thought that the U.S. would prevent the EU from adopting a defense policy that was independent of NATO," says Sinan Ülgen, an expert on Turkey at the Brussels think tank Carnegie Europe. "Now they are afraid that Washington may make concessions for France, which could change things."

Macron sees post-Merkel power vacuum

Turkey's concerns may well prove to be justified. Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel always argued for closer collaboration with Turkey, partly because it is an important trading partner and partly because it has a direct influence on the influx of migrants from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

Merkel consistently thwarted France's plans for a stricter approach from Brussels towards Turkey, and she never supported Emmanuel Macron's ideas about greater strategic autonomy for countries within the EU.

But now she that she's leaving office, Macron is keen to make the most of the power vacuum Merkel will leave behind. The prospect of France's growing influence is "not especially good news for Turkey," says Ian Lesser, vice president of the think tank German Marshall Fund.

Ankara fears the defense pact between France and Greece could be a sign of what is to come. According to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the agreement is aimed "at NATO member Turkey" and is damaging to the alliance. Observers also assume the agreement means that France is supporting Greece's claims to certain territories in the Mediterranean which remain disputed under international law, with Turkey's own sovereignty claims.

Paris is a close ally of Athens. In the summer of 2020, Greece and Turkey were poised on the threshold of a military conflict in the eastern Mediterranean. Since then, Athens has ordered 24 Rafale fighter jets from France, and the new pact includes a deal for France to supply them with three frigates.

Photo of French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on September 27 in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on September 27 in Paris

Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium Agency/ZUMA

Erdogan’s EU wish list

It's not the first time that Ankara has felt snubbed by the EU. Since Donald Trump left the White House, Turkey has been making a considerable effort to improve relations with Brussels. "The situation in the eastern Mediterranean is peaceful and the migrant problem is under control," says Kalin. Now it is "high time" that Europe does something for Turkey.

Erdogan's wish list is extensive: making it easier for Turks to get EU visas, renegotiating the refugee deal, making more funds available to Turkey as it continues the process of joining the EU, and moderniszing the customs union. But there is no movement on any of these issues in Brussels. They're happy to keep Erdogan waiting.

Britain consistently supported Turkey's ambition to join the EU

Now he is starting to look elsewhere. At the UN summit in September, Erdogan had a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the recently opened Turkish House in New York. Kalin says it was a "very good meeting" and that the two countries are "closely allied strategic partners." He says they plan to work together more closely on trade, but with a particular focus on defense.

 Turkey's second largest export market

The groundwork for collaboration was already in place. Britain consistently supported Turkey's ambition to join the EU, and gave an ultimate proof of friendship after the failed coup in 2016. Unlike other European capitals, London reacted quickly, calling the coup an "attack on Turkish democracy," and its government has generally held back in its criticism of Turkey.

At the end of last year, Johnson and Erdogan signed a new free trade agreement, which will govern commerce between the two countries post-Brexit. Erdogan has called it "the most important treaty for Turkey since the customs agreement with the EU in 1995."

After Germany, Britain is Turkey's second largest export market. "Turkey now has the opportunity to build a new partnership with the United Kingdom and it must make the most of it," says economist Ali Kücükcolak from the Istanbul Commerce University.

Erdogan is well aware of this, as Turkey is in desperate need of an economic boost. Inflation currently stands at 19%, and the currency's value is consistently falling. Turks are feeling the impact on their daily lives: food and rent are becoming increasingly expensive, while salaries remain unchanged.

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