Usain Bolt is the fastest human being in history, and he’s quick enough to outrun several animals, but is a cheetah one of them?
Usain Bolt isn’t faster than a cheetah. Bolt set 100 meters sprint world record at the 2009 World Championships with 9.58 seconds. According to National Geographic, a cheetah can cover the same distance in 5.95 seconds, easily defeating Bolt.
Usain Bolt vs. a Cheetah
If you believe that Usain Bolt raced a cheetah, it’s probably because you had a chance to see National Geographic’s viral video that compares their speed. Like Michael Phelps’s race against a shark, this clip has been computer-generated, but it sparked people’s imagination.
National Geographic explained that the fastest man in history wouldn’t stand a chance against a cheetah. The magazine compared Bolt’s 9.69 seconds time achieved at the 100 meters event during the 2008 Summer Olympics with the speed of a cheetah, and it turned out it wouldn’t even be a tight race.
National Geographic compared Bolt’s speed to Sarah, a female South African cheetah that grew up at the Cincinnati Zoo, believed to be the world’s fastest recorded cheetah. This wild cat could cover the same distance in just 5.95 seconds, easily beating Bolt and other Olympic sprinters.
Cheetahs own their incredible speed to their increased lung capacity, long legs, and lightweight body. They can accelerate extremely quickly and increase their stride length by keeping their limbs in the air during the sprint, but their endurance is limited.
Even the fastest man on Earth isn’t a match for the world’s fastest land mammal, but are there any other animals that Usain Bolt could defeat in a race?
Usain Bolt vs. Animals
Usain Bolt definitely couldn’t defeat a cheetah, but what other animals can he outrun?
Business Insider tried to answer this question and compared Bolt’s speed to numerous animals (and a car in a school zone, for some reason). Their final verdict was that he can outrun several animals, including a pig, a squirrel, an elephant, a roadrunner, and a Jack Russell Terrier.
The Texas-based station KABB also compared Bolt’s speed to other members of the animal kingdom and reported that he could barely beat a house cat. The list of animals that he wouldn’t be able to defeat is much longer, and it includes ostrich, greyhound, antelope, and numerous other magnificent creatures.
Adopting a Cheetah
Usain Bolt isn’t faster than a cheetah, but he still has a lot of love in his heart for these wild cats. Back in 2009, it was reported that he formally adopted a baby cheetah named Lightning Bolt, being raised at an animal orphanage in Nairobi.
In addition to paying $13,700 to adopt Lightning Bolt, the Olympic champion also agreed to invest $3,000 a year for its care. His donation went towards the Kenya Wildlife Service, focused on protecting and conserving Kenya’s wildlife.
Bolt paid a four-day visit to Kenya and used it as an opportunity to meet his cheetah in person. Lightning Bolt was three months old at the time and only reached the size of a house cat, so he could’ve easily cradled it in his arm.
While in Kenya, Bolt also joined forces with the Zeitz Foundation and launched a campaign called the Long Run, aimed at promoting conservation efforts and ecologically sound practices.
“I was attracted to the initiative because of its objectives on the conservation of the environment and co-existence of different cultures. I do a lot of charity work in Jamaica. But I would like to see first-hand the challenges facing Africa in the environment,” he told BBC.
Bolt’s cheetah is all grown up now, and he shared its photos on his Instagram page in 2014. It’s unclear what happened to Lightning Bolt after that and if it still resides at the animal orphanage.