A photo has recently gone viral with taglines such as: “Usain Bolt Celebrates Olympic Victory with His Son.” What many people may be surprised to find out, upon looking into the story a little more, is that the son that is referenced is a cheetah!
Bolt adopted what was then a baby cheetah in 2009. Known as the world’s fastest man, it makes sense that he would adopt a member of the world’s fastest species. The name of the cheetah is Lightning Bolt, and Usain Bolt has sponsored the animal to support an effort to bolster wildlife conservation efforts in Kenya.
He paid $13,700 to adopt Lightning Bolt formally, and he has also committed to spending $3,000 per year to take care of the cub. His “son” is not being raised directly by him but in an animal orphanage in Nairobi.
The picture was taken, then, is not of Usain Bolt celebrating his Olympic victory with his biological son, but perhaps depicted an equally touching moment: that when Bolt held the baby cheetah after adopting him in 2009. At the time, Lightning Bolt was the size of a full-grown domestic cat, although it would only make sense that he would be too big to cradle now.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Bolt has become the first athlete to win the 100-meter race at three different Olympic Games. He has seven Olympic gold medals, as well as 11 more gold medals at the track and field world championships. Even if he was not actually celebrating with his son, he has many reasons to be happy.