With the Olympic Games opening ceremony taking place in Rio today, Guinness World Records has been taking a look back over some of the world's greatest sporting achievements and the records set by Olympic athletes.

Arguably the most iconic of all records was broken by Usain Bolt in 2009 when the Jamaican runner completed the fastest 100 metres ever, in a ground-breaking time of 9.58 seconds.

At the IAAF World ChampionshipsBolt shattered his own record of 9.69 seconds exactly one year after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. With Bolt shaving 0.11 second off, this was the largest ever margin of improvement in the 100 metres since the beginning of electronic timing.
 
To demonstrate how much the sport has progressed, American athlete Carl Lewis earned the 100 metres record with a time of 9.82 seconds back in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics. If Lewis was in the same race as Bolt in Beijing, Lewis would have finished a staggering 10 metres behind.
 

 
While at the Berlin IAAF World Championships, at just 22 years old, Bolt also achieved the Fastest run 200 metres in a time of 19.19 seconds. (Not bad for a runner who once confessed that chicken nuggets were behind his success in breaking the world record in Beijing.)
 
His achievements at the Olympic Games in Beijing secured three gold medals for Jamaica in the 100 m, 200 m and 4 x 100 m, and Bolt sealed his place as an Olympic legend.
 
The popular sprint star soon became the highest paid athlete ever in track and field, with sponsors queuing up to get him to front various campaigns, and is certainly one of the most well known names in sport.
 
Usain Bolt GWR certificate
 
So how did Bolt get to this point in his career and why is he so fast?
 
Bolt was born on 21 August 1986 in Trelawny, Jamaica, and grew up with his parents, Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt, his brother Sadiki and his sister Sherine. As a kid, Bolt spent his time playing cricket and football in the street with his brother and became a huge Manchester United fan. When meeting then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012, Bolt pleaded for a trial at the club - but, it seems, he was destined for the track.
 
It was at Waldensia Primary school where he first began to show his sprinting potential, running in the annual national primary-schools' meeting for his parish. By the age of twelve, Bolt had become the school's fastest runner over the 100 metres distance. Bolt continued to explore other sports but eventually his cricket coach urged him to try track and field events.
 
His athletics career got underway and Bolt won his first annual high school championships medal in 2001, taking the silver medal in the 200 metres with a time of 22.04 seconds. Under the guidance of new coach Fitz Coleman, Bolt turned professional in 2004. Bolt’s main focus was on the 200 metres and he became the first junior sprinter to run the 200 metres in under twenty seconds, taking the world junior record outright with a time of 19.93.
 
In his early days, and even more recently, Bolt has been accused of being lazy and taking a too relaxed stance towards his training, diet and performance. He was often pressured to move to America to unlock his full potential but knocked back continuous demands and remained at his home in Jamaica.
 
The year 2005 signalled a fresh start for Bolt in the form of a new coach, Glen Mills, and he continued to run in the 200 m. Bolt yearned to run in the 100 metres but Mills was sceptical, believing that Bolt was better suited for middle distances.
 
Usain Bolt graphic GWR
 
However, Bolt's finally got his wish and entered to run the 100 metres event at the 23rd Vardinoyiannia meeting in Rethymno, Crete, aged 18 years-old. In his debut tournament run, he set a personal best of 10.03, winning the gold medal and feeding his enthusiasm for the event.
  
Bolt would soon prove he had what it took to cut it in the competitive 100 m field when, in only his fifth competitive senior run, on 31 May 2008 he ran a time of 9.72 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix held in the Icahn Stadium in New York City. Bolt would then go on to take a stronghold on the 100 metres scene in the years to come.
 
The aforementioned Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 saw him collect three gold medals and, in London 2012 he went home with a further three.
 
Talking about Bolt's lightning speed, Nick Davies, General Secretary of IAAF, paid testament to his extraordinarily-long legs and that his stride is about 20 cm longer than his shorter competitors.
 
Tyson Gay, who was ran alongside 6 ft 5 in Bolt in 2007 in New York, told the press that it felt like "his knees were going past his face".
 
Bolt in recent years often toyed with the media with discussions about possible retirement – especially in the wake of the London 2012 Olympics.
 
However, the 28-year-old athlete will be defending his titles and records at Rio - so stayed tuned to find out if Usain Bolt maintains the most envied title in athletics - the fastest man on the planet.