Usain Bolt was a winner of 19 global championships gold medals during a glorious track career. He anchored Jamaica to victory in each of the previous six global championships 4x100m finals, stretching back to the 2009 World Championships – with an average winning margin of 0.49.
Bolt has bagged an enviable collection of gold medals: three each at 100m at Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships; three at 200m at Olympics and four at IAAF World Championships; plus two 4x100m gold medals at the Olympics and four at the IAAF World Championships.
The world records he set on the bright blue track of the Olympiastadion in Berlin at the 2009 IAAF World Championships: 9.58 for 100m and 19.19 for 200m still stand.
The Jamaican recently discussed his career and began by talking about the lap of honour he was given at the recent IAAF World Athletics Championships in London:
“For me, it was brilliant. The support hasn’t changed. It is sad that I have to walk away now. The energy of crowd was great. I feel so at home and welcome here. I was saying goodbye to fans and saying goodbye to my events also, I’ve dominated them for years. They have been everything to me. I almost cried, but it didn’t come.”
On his injury during his final World Championships race, the Men’s 4x100m Relay Final, Bolt said:
“After the injury, I pretty much tried to get home quickly to treat it. I stayed up for a while texting people who were concerned what was going on. I woke up and was getting treatment this morning. I will see what it is tomorrow to see if it is worse than I think it is. It was unusual. I knew I had to stay warm. We got into second call room to stride out which was fine. But we were taken to the area behind the boarding to be ready to run, but we waited there for 10-15 minutes. Why bring us out if we are going to stand there? They decided to do medal ceremony. What am I going to do? We are athletes who are going to follow the rules.”
Asked if he now regretted continuing running in 2017, the multiple times World Champion stated:
“No, I’m fine. My fans wanted to see me compete for one more year. Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished everything over the years. If I could come out here and give the fans a show, that’s fine with me. That’s all I wanted. One championship doesn’t change what I’ve done. After losing the 100m someone said to me, ‘Muhamnmed Ali lost his last fight so don’t be too stressed.’ I have shown my credentials throughout my career so losing my last race isn’t going to change what I’ve done in my sport.
“I’ve proven that by working hard, anything is possible. For me, I was sitting down today and doing an interview. My motto is anything is possible. It shows that everyone should continue trying. I personally feel this is a good message to send to youngsters to push on. If I can leave that to the younger generation, then that’s a good legacy to leave.”
When asked to comment on the number of surprise results at London 2017, the 200m World Record holder said:
“I think the whole champs has seen bad luck for certain athletes. It has been a surprising Championships with lots of shocks. It is just the championships, not to do with me personally. I am always going to leave everything on the track. Everything happens for a reason; I don’t know why it happened but it has.”
It has been suggested in certain quarters that Bolt would return to the track as he would miss the sport so much, but the former 100m World Champion stated:
“No, I’ve seen too many people return and come back to sport and shame themselves. I won’t be one of those people.”
Regarding the disappointing performance of the Jamaican team at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, the three-time Olympic 100m Gold medallist offered:
“It has been a rough champs for a lot of people. Few people would have predicted many of the wins, half who were supposed to win didn’t. It has been up and down. Someone tried to blame me because I started it. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. Hopefully, young Jamaicans see what is going on and fix things to get better.
“There is lots of talent in Jamaica, lots of youngsters. Always pick youngsters to come up and do great things. Not everyone is like me – do they want it and do they want to be the greatest? If they work hard and put the effort in, Jamaica will be safe.”
Bolt then discussed the ever-controversial topic of doping in athletics, reiterating the stand he has always taken on the issue:
“I have always been strong on doping. I’ve said it: athletes should get life bans if you go out of your way to cheat an athlete. The sport is now on the way back up and we have to do everything to keep it in a good light. I’ve shown that you can do it without doping so that’s what I hope the young athletes will take from it.”
There has been much speculation in the media lately that Usain Bolt may play professional soccer or cricket following his retirement from the track. On his most immediate future plans however the 6’5” Jamaican said:
“I am looking forward to being free. My whole life has been track and field since I was 10. All I know is track. I need fun and to relax a little bit.”