Mr. Usain Bolt trained at Brunel a number of times over his career, including in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, where his world beating performances scooped him three gold medals and cemented his place as the greatest sprinter of all time.
Accepting his award, Mr Bolt told the gathered graduates at Brunel’s Indoor Athletics Centre in Uxbridge: “I want to say to the graduates, hard work does pay off, just remember that the road won’t be easy, there will be ups and downs, and you will fail.
“But always remember, learn from your failure and try again. Never give up on your dream, because as a young man I never knew I’d be this great. Always work hard, dedicate yourself, and remember, anything is possible, don’t take limits.”
Despite retiring from professional racing in 2017, Mr Bolt still holds the 100m and 200m world records, and a share of the 4x100m record, which he helped set after preparing at Brunel in 2012.
His 100m world record, set in Berlin in 2009, is still over a tenth of a second faster than the second fastest person’s best ever time, and nearly two-tenths of a second faster than 2022’s fastest sprint.
Speaking via video from his native Jamaica, Mr Bolt said: “I want to thank Brunel University for this honorary degree, I really appreciate it.
“I have only fond memories of training at Brunel, you guys have really helped me to conquer the world, and I must say I really appreciate that. “
Mr Bolt, who was made a Doctor of the University, or DUniv, was welcomed to stage by Prof Costas Karageorghis, Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Brunel. Speaking after the event, he said: “It’s been a delight to welcome Usain back to Brunel to recognise his great achievements, not only on the track, but in promoting sport and a positive attitude towards life.
“As a university, we’re immensely proud to have played even a small part in his journey to greatness, and I’m sure Usain knows he’s welcome back any time!”
Also honoured at the ceremony was Dame Professor Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, who oversees the work of the organisation’s 55,000 scientists, rolling out over 2 billion lateral flow devices and other testing technologies to detect covid.