Usain Bolt - #21
Hailed as the greatest track and field athlete since Jesse Owens, Usain Bolt burst onto the international scene in May 2008 by setting a world record in the 100-meter dash with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it time of 9.72 seconds. The best, however, was still yet to come as this blazingly fast sprinter literally ran away from the field at the Beijing Games en route to establishing Olympic and world records for the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. Usain Bolt's phenomenal display of speed transformed him into a household name and, just as importantly, made him a national treasure in his native Jamaica.
2008's Claim to Fame: Usain Bolt smashed record after record at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, and his confidence made him an athlete to watch.