Usain Bolt, who will compete in his fourth consecutive Olympic Games next month, has outlined his determination to leave an inedible mark on world sport by defending his titles.
The six-time Olympic champion, who will defend his 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay crowns, has brushed aside talk of retirement, as he aims to make history in Brazil by completing an unprecedented ‘triple treble’.
In what will likely be his last Games, Bolt is blinkered in terms of approach and won’t be drawn on when he will call time on his illustrious athletics career.
“Right now I’m not thinking about retirement,” the 29-year-old superstar told Sport24 in an exclusive interview, when quizzed about when he could potentially make his final curtain call.
“My goal for this year has always been to compete at the Olympics and that is what I am completely focused on,” the affable athlete said.
There was talk in some circles of Bolt perhaps adding the 400m or long jump to his repertoire. However, he ultimately opted against adding any new events to his race programme.
“I decided to concentrate on the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. My aim is to win three gold medals in Rio. It would mean a lot to me personally and cement my legacy as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.”
The Jamaican reveals that his preparations for the 2016 season have proved similar to how he has prepared in the past. However, there has been one notable point of difference. A pesky grade one hamstring tear threw a spanner in the works, and Bolt only returned to competition in his first 200m of the season during the Anniversary Games in London last Friday.
Bolt is athletics’ superman, and while injury can be his kryptonite, he is fit and firing for Rio.
“As I get older, I just have to take more care of my body, eat well and get adequate rest and recovery. For me, when I’m fit and healthy, I’m always confident that I will do well.”
STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND PLAY
Bolt is someone who likes to strike a good balance in life and he credits his manager and agent for arranging his schedule in such a way that he is able to work hard and play hard.
“I train flat-out and always listen to my coach, but also like to relax away from the track,” said the fastest man in the world, who owns a bar in Kingston.
“I don’t think that I have changed much as a person over the years,” he continued.
“I’m still close to my family, have the same circle of friends and management team. They are the people who help me stay grounded.”
Bolt speaks glowingly of his childhood, which forged him into the man and athlete he is today.
“I have great memories of my childhood growing up in Sherwood Content, rural Jamaica,” he said.
“As a child, I had plenty of energy and spent much of my time playing outside.”
Before taking up athletics, Bolt played football and cricket in the dusty streets.
Athletics ultimately proved Bolt’s calling. Nevertheless, he revealed that when he was younger he used to be quite apprehensive before race meets, which is a far cry from the supremely self-assured super-athlete he has morphed into.
He recounts a particular high-profile track and field event when he was 15-years-old.
“I remember being very nervous ahead of the 2002 World Junior Championships (hosted in Jamaica), but ever since then I have been able to overcome fear. I don’t really have a fear of failure. I love competition and it’s the feeling of competing and winning that keeps me motivated to work hard in training.”
When the time comes to eventually hang up his spikes, Bolt outlined that he will pursue several business interests. He will continue working with some of his commercial partners, do ambassadorial work for the IAAF and will also have more time to work for the Usain Bolt Foundation.
However, for now, his focus is fixed on
attaining success at the Rio Olympics.