AP Photo/Stephen Chernin

It was a nondescript track meet in May 2008 _ a tuneup for some of the world's best in the leadup to the Beijing Olympics. 

Highlighting the program: American sprinter Tyson Gay. Also appearing: A relatively unknown kid from Jamaica named Usain Bolt. 

Thunderstorms pelted New York City that night and the track at Ichan Stadium, on Randall's Island between Manhattan and Queens, was cool and glistening with the remnants of the rain after the clock struck midnight. 

About 6,000 people were present, many of them waiting out the rain delay for the reggae concert that would take place when the running ended. Meet organizers wanted to cater to a Jamaican crowd they knew would come to see Bolt.

They got the music, but before that, something even better: Bolt's first world record. 9.72 seconds. 

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

I was among the lucky few in attendance that night. Couldn't believe what I was seeing. Don't the best sprinters save their best for the biggest events? In this case, not even Bolt knew he was that good.

He was really a 200-400 meter specialist, considered too tall and lanky, at 6-foot-5, to crouch into the blocks and explode fast enough to be a factor at 100 meters.

He wasn't even sure if he'd run the 100 in Beijing.

"I think that will change today," Bolt said after that race. "It doesn't matter if I have the world record if I don't have the Olympic medal."
 
AP Photo/Bill Kostourn
 
He's been collecting them both ever since. He has since lowered that world record twice. First, to 9.69 in Beijing, then to 9.58 the next year at world championships in Berlin. He came into the Rio Games with a perfect 6-for-6 mark in Olympic sprints, hoping to take that to 9-for-9 before he's done.