How Olympic big cat Usain Bolt is making Puma purr

You have to feel for Britain's James Dasaolu. Every Team GB athlete has enjoyed the roaring home support at the London Games, and yet it was the man to the sprinter's right who got the biggest response from the crowd during heat four of the men's 100m. All eyes and ears were on Jamaica's Usain Bolt.

So how did the fastest man alive look? Swathed from head to toe in black prior to the race, Bolt smiled to the camera and kissed his finger, mouthing the words "number one, baby". His posture suggested great ease, even if his outfit was ninja-like. Then, to the strains of the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams, Bolt stripped away the tracksuit and got down to the block.

Designed by Cedella Marley, Jamaica's official kit features a blend of the country's colours – green, black and gold – and is emblazoned with slogans such as "positive vibrations". Cedella, who, as the daughter of Bob Marley is close to royalty by Jamaican standards, was a smart commission by Puma, the country's athletic sponsors.

Despite a now-entrenched association with Jamaica, Puma's history offers a few contradictions: German Rudolf Dassler, who founded the brand in 1948 after leaving the family's shoe company (which would then become Adidas), joined the Nazi party in 1933 – while his brother Adolf personally persuaded Jesse Owens to wear running shoes of his design in the 1936 Olympics. But that's in the past: Puma's current strategy is to favour supporting black athletes. Now Puma's big-cat logo is synonymous with Bolt, a runner whose chilled-out persona manages to make being the fastest man in history look even cooler.

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