18 December, 2008 - Published 19:58 GMT
He took on the 100m and 200m and left world records in his dust.
Now triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt says he will tackle Michael Johnson’s 400m world record in 2010.
Long before the man referred to as ‘Lightning’ Bolt became the sprinting revelation of 2008 another Olympic gold medallist, Jamaican Donald Quarrie saw the promise of greater things.
In April, at the press launch for the Jamaica International Invitational meet, the 1976 Montreal Olympics 200m champion said he believed Bolt could be the best 400m runner in the world if he chose to focus on the event.
That was a mere days before Bolt clocked 9.76 seconds to win the 100m at the meet on only his fifth outing at the distance.
Four weeks later Bolt became owner of the 100m world record and in Beijing in August he added the 200m and sprint relay world records to his resume.
Quarrie, who was inside Jamaica’s National Stadium to personally congratulate Bolt in June 2007 when he lowered Quarrie’s 26-year-old Jamaica 200m record from 19.86 seconds to 19.75 at the country’s national Championships, has reiterated his statement since Bolt’s proclamation.
“It will be fascinating …the day he (Bolt) decides to settle down to the 400m I think we are going to see wonders,” he told BBC Caribbean.
“The 400m may be a little longer but he has long strides so he can cover it in a shorter number of steps than most people can.”
Quarrie who is a mentor to a number of young athletes said he saw the 6-foot 5-inch tall sprinter’s potential early on.
“From I saw Usain Bolt run at a very early age I knew that his talent was unbelievable. He has a range which is unlike any other sprinter and as far as the 400m …I think he can break that world record.”
In fact, Bolt was a 200m/400m specialist as a teenager and stills holds the Jamaican high school championships class one 400m record (45.35) which he set in 2003 as a 16 year old.
“I think his style of running, his determination, his success so far, he is young and motivated he is getting more mature and when those things come into play you will see more success,” Quarrie stated.
Following his exploits in Beijing, Bolt was named 2008 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.
Quarrie said despite his youth, Bolt 22, is emotionally capable of handling the pressure which will come with being a star athlete.
“He runs from within and when you are in control from within no one can deter you, no one can convince you that you are not
the best and that’s the type of person (Usain) is and that’s why he will be even more successful in the future.”