Usain Bolt

There are 7.4 billion people in the world. Usain Bolt is faster than all of them.

7.4 billion. That’s an inconceivable number — impossible to envision. Here are some that are easier to wrap our minds around.

9.58 seconds.

41 steps.

100 meters.

On their own, these numbers are simple to understand and even count, but when they come together and play out in front of our eyes — when we watch Usain Bolt cover 100m in 41 steps and 9.58 seconds — 7.4 billion people are left speechless.

Since 2008, Usain Bolt has captivated the entire world, breaking records with an ease that shocks spectators and competitors alike. In August, Bolt will attempt yet another unthinkable feat — a sweep of the 100m, 200m, and 4X100m relay. For the third time in a row. Bolt has dominated the sport so completely, it’s fair to say his only true competition is his previous times. And he knows it.

“I’m always confident,” Bolt said. “When I put in the training, and I know I’ve done the work, my confidence is really up there, because I know I’m prepared, and I know I’m ready to go.”

But with the announcement of his recent grade-one hamstring tear, the world is wondering if Bolt will even be healthy enough to race, let alone win.

For perhaps the first time since the early days of his career, Bolt is entering a major competition with the shadows of doubt hovering over him. And in order to overcome his injury, Bolt will have to rely heavily on what is perhaps his greatest skill of all — racing ridiculously well when it counts.

How will he manage that? By shutting out the noise.

“I’ve learned over the years that the more you think about the race, the more nerves creep in,” he said. “When you have too many nerves, you can make mistakes. I just try to think about anything else but the race, so I can keep my mind free and not get tense or stressed out in any way.”

If Bolt’s trademark confidence is shaken, he’s not showing it. Achieving great things begins with believing they are possible. Bolt’s unwavering belief in his own greatness is what makes the rest of us trust that when he steps into the blocks in August, it will be to deliver yet another unforgettable performance.

And while most of the 7.4 billion people in the world will never come close to reaching Bolt’s speed, he believes that every athlete should approach their sport the same way he does: by attacking it head on.

“No matter who you are, if you go into a race thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to lose,’ that doesn’t make any sense,” Bolt said. “You have to be confident and say, ‘You know what? I’m going to go out there and do my best. I’m going to do great. I’m going to PR.’ That’s the focus you should always have. Go into a race with confidence and know you’re going to do it, because if you don’t look at it that way, you’re already defeated.”

Can lightning strike three times? Bolt’s answer is a resounding yes.