Contributed by: Christopher Kolezynski
Usain Bolt became a household name in track and field quite some time ago. In 2008, at the Olympic Games in Beijing, Bolt won the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m races with world record setting times. In 2012, at the Olympic games in London, Bolt won all three gold medals beating his own previous world records. In 2016, at the Olympic Games in Rio, Bolt again won all three gold medals and created history for being the first athlete to win three gold medals at three consecutive Olympic games.
However, ask him what his proudest moment was and he will say the 2002 IAAF Junior Championships. “For me, to win in front of my home crowd…there has been no better feeling…That is the most proud I have ever been.” The world’s fastest and proudest man will run his last race this Saturday, August 5th at the IAAF World Championships in London.
At a press conference Bolt was asked what type of legacy he wanted to leave behind. “Unbeatable! Usain Bolt has retired unbeatable over the individual events.” Yet, it also appears Bolt doesn’t want to win only for himself but rather a friend. It was this past April 20th that Usain Bolt lost teammate and close friend Germaine Mason.
“For me, it was a rough time…I’ve never had somebody passed away that close to me before. It set me back a little bit. I didn’t train for three weeks. My coach gave me my space. He gave me time to grieve. At some time, the close net of people I was with said, ‘We know it’s hard, but you need to get back training because Germaine was looking forward to coming to your last race to see you compete and finish off your legacy.’ That definitely helped me to get back, to get going again. It was hard but it became a positive and now I really want to do it for him and for his family, and all the friends around who supported me in a hard time.”
Despite Bolt’s endearing drive and massive success it seems he is still the underdog. “I’m the underdog, for some reason…“[t]hat’s what I keep reading. That’s what my team keeps telling me… I’ve got to prove myself once more.”
One thing is for certain, Bolt is determined to do so. Yet, after Bolt wins on Saturday, what lies ahead after retiring from competition? One option is becoming a global ambassador for track and field.
“One thing I’d like to do is travel around and try to inspire young kids and also coaches….I’d like to inspire people as much as possible – to explain to them what I’ve been through in my career and try to help to motivate them. If I could do that, it would be good: go to all the corners of the world and try to motivate other people to get into the sport.”
Bolt has already taken to being a leader on and off the track. Recently, Bolt warned fellow athletes to stop doping fearing such activity would kill the sport.
Referring to state sponsored doping in Russia and the subsequent ban on Russia’s participation in the 2016 Olympic Rio games and 2017 IAAF World Championships Bolt noted “I don’t think it gets any worse than that….But it’s on its way back up now.” “Hopefully, athletes will see what’s going on and understand that if they don’t stop what they’re doing the sport will die. And hopefully they will understand what the sport is going through and what they need to do as athletes to help it move forward.…You can’t be happy about doping at all, it’s not good for the sport…But over the years we’re doing a better job, it’s getting clean and we’re catching up to a lot of athletes. There’s an understanding that, listen, if you cheat you will get caught. Over time the sport will get better.”
It would seem Bolt’s optimism is coming true at a fast pace. On Thursday Aug 3, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, head of the Russian athletics federation, apologized for the doping scandal that barred his country from competition. “I’ve delved into this situation and understand that the decision by the IAAF and Council…was the right one. I would like to apologise to all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions.”
Overall, the future looks bright for Bolt’s beloved sport of track and field. It seems Bolt will leave the sport in a better place.
What lies ahead for Bolt, beyond the final finish line, remains unclear…..One avenue Bolt is keen to pursue is that of a global ambassador for track and field…..
Usain Bolt has issued a stark warning to his fellow athletes that they must stop doping otherwise track and field will die. The triple Olympic 100m and 200m champion insisted that the sport was on the mend following the staggering revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russia but conceded more needed to be done to tackle the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs. “I don’t think it gets any worse than that,” he said, referring to the problems in Russia which he agreed had left the sport at rock bottom. “But it’s on its way back up now. Hopefully, athletes will see what’s going on and understand that if they don’t stop what they’re doing the sport will die. And hopefully they will understand what the sport is going through and what they need to do as athletes to help it move forward.”… “You can’t be happy about doping at all, it’s not good for the sport,” he added. “But over the years we’re doing a better job, it’s getting clean and we’re catching up to a lot of athletes. There’s an understanding that, listen, if you cheat you will get caught. Over time the sport will get better.
Dmitry Shlyakhtin, head of the Russian athletics federation (RusAF), “publicly apologi[zed] for the doping scandal that has seen the country barred from international track and field competition.” “I’ve delved into this situation and understand that the decision by the IAAF and Council…was the right one. “I would like to apologise to all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions.”
“Usain St Leo Bolt, created history at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio when he achieved the ‘Triple Triple’, three gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games. Usain’s journey to worldwide stardom started at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, all in world record times. He followed this up with three gold medals in the same events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London to write his name in the history books as the world’s fastest man. Then one day before his 30th birthday he completed the same triple at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio to cement his legacy as a legend in world sport.”