As Usain Bolt promises Gatlin will feel his "full wrath", a historic triple-triple is the target

It's eight years since the Jamaican sprint created a sensation in Beijing

Usain Bolt, Jamaica,

Picture by: Martin Rickett / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Have you switched on the TV? Found the right channel? Got settled on your favourite part of the couch? Had time to make yourself a cup of tea? OK! So ready, set, go

On average the words above take about 9.7 seconds to read - just as long as it took for Usain Bolt to blaze a trail into globe’s consciousness.

He came into 2008 as the world’s fastest man and he even lowered the world record set in Beijing by finishing in a time of 9.58 in Berlin the following year.

But as Bolt returns for a bid to win the Olympic 100 metre gold again for a third time running, we are now approaching eight years since the Jamaican sprinter created a phenomenon in Beijing with a world record time of 9.69 seconds - in the time that it took the Chinese capital’s Bird’s Eye Stadium and the watching world to blink once.

Lest we forget, he has also been dominant in the 200 metres and 4x100 metre relay. But what was even more remarkable was that he had the 2008 100 metre race in such control and the gap to some pretty electric runners behind was so cavernous that he could engage in some chest-slapping across the line.

It was a small window to the charisma which has helped turn him into a global brand away from the track.

Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt poses for photographers before a press conference ahead of the Anniversary Games in London, Thursday, July 21, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Indeed when he repeated the trick in 2012 and did his lightning bolt celebration, it was mimicked by many in tribute.

And only a select few would get away with statements like “I'm now a legend. I'm also the greatest athlete to live” as he said after 2012. He can because there was no-one who could muster up an argument in the other direction.

The mix of a magnetic charisma and almost peerless sporting ability don’t tend to congregate within the same body.

Muhammad Ali was one such sportsman who did have both as his political and cultural significance has been highlighted since his recent passing. Ayrton Senna had it in a understated, almost spiritual way. Johann Cruyff also transcended football in so many spheres that his mere absence would have meant we would be watching a slightly different game today at the highest level.

In modern times, it’s a privilege to have watched the likes of Lionel Messi and Roger Federer at their peaks and as beautiful as the pictures they paint on the football field or tennis court are, perhaps we don’t know them that well as personalities because they maintain a calm exterior.

Tiger Woods is another who has had a major - literally when it comes to golf - impact globally but the injuries and other off-course issues have perhaps had a slight effect on how the world views him.

Bolt though, is viewed as a fun, laid-back character, who has never tested positive for a prohibited substance, in a sport marred by the spectre of doping.

He was also a revelation as a junior even before reaching maturity.

With that in mind, he has become a personality that many root for.

Just like the 2015 world championships when it was expected Bolt would be beaten by a certain in-form sprinter, the nemesis once again is America’s Justin Gatlin.

Previously twice-banned for positive tests prior to 2010, Gatlin had been in menacing form, leading into the 2015 final.

But Bolt just about edged him by 0.01 seconds with the celebrations this time involving an impromptu collision with a cameraman on a segway which he was lucky to escape uninjured from.

But on a more serious note, there is a bit of edge again between Bolt and the unpopular and controversial athlete that is Gatlin.

Bolt has promised to “feel his full wrath” in Rio after being irked by Gatlin’s comment that the Jamaican has been given a “medical pass” to take part in the Games after being given a medical exemption to compete this month following a pulled hamstring.

It’s clearly a manner of trying to get under Bolt’s skin and Gatlin has been upping the ante by claiming that his more illustrious opponent “doesn’t want to race me across the world all the time”.

Whether that attempt at mind games work is open to question because Bolt has proved it at consecutive Olympics and is still on course for a triple-triple (100 metre, 200 metre and relay gold in three Olympic Games straight).

Certainly judging from history, the watching world will be trying push Bolt across the line ahead of Gatlin in the final Olympics for Games’ foremost phenomenon of the modern era.

It’ll take less than 10 seconds for that chapter to be read on Sunday August 14th.