June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. What better time to talk about the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt?

Usain Bolt is an Olympic Gold Medalist who ran track representing Jamaica. He is also an athlete living with Scoliosis, but he clearly doesn’t let that get in his way. Bolt’s career ended in 2017 but he is an eleven-time world champion. Bolt still holds the world record for 100m, 200m, and 4x100m triple in Track and Field.

We can’t all be Olympic-level athletes or world champions, but we can be our own best advocates and caretakers.

Bolt’s athletic career is a testament to the fact that a diagnosis does not mark the end of a person’s story unless they allow for it. Knowledge is power, which is why SpineNation works to educate, support, and inspire community members to live their best life despite chronic back pain and spine conditions.

In an interview with ESPN The Magazine Bolt had this to say about being an athlete with Scoliosis:

When I was younger it wasn’t really a problem. But you grow and it gets worse. My spine’s really curved bad [makes “S” shape with finger]. But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis doesn’t really bother me. So I don’t have to worry about it as long as I work hard. The early part of my career, when we didn’t really know much about it, it really hampered me because I got injured every year.”

This story appears in the Dec. 12, 2011, “Interview Issue” of ESPN The Magazine.

How different would Bolt’s life look if he had accepted defeat over those annual injuries?

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