Usain Bolt: "I've had a great career. I want to end it on a high note"
The nine-time Olympic champion spoke to The Pat Kenny Show10:20 Thursday 1 September 2016, 10:20 1 Sep 2016
After making history at the Olympics in Rio 2016, Usain Bolt is entering the final lap of his distinguished career.
The nine-time Olympic champion has spoken exclusively to The Pat Kenny Show in his first interview since the Games, and stated that he is already looking forward to next season, which culminates at the World Championships in London.
"Next season is just like another season," said Bolt. "Right now, I'm on a little vacation break. I'm just relaxing and taking it easy. I just start the season like any other season."
Despite entering his final season, and achieving all he has with numerous World records to add to his Olympic and World titles, the 30-year-old feels he wont lack any motivation ahead of the next chapter in his career.
"It was hard this season. Knowing that I'm going into my last season, and I want to put on a good show for the fans, I think I'll find the motivation to get through [...] It will be all for the fans, and going to different meets and putting on a show."
Despite the end of his time on the track coming into view, Bolt appears to be unfazed by retirement. Bolt will be keeping busy with ambassadorial work for companies including Digicel and Puma, but he also plans to give back to young athletes in Jamaica.
Usain Bolt celebrates winning the 200-metres final. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
However, he also told The Pat Kenny Show that he could not imagine a life away from athletics:
"I'm going to stay in track-and-field. I know I'll find a lot of work to do in track-and-field. I want to work with the kids in Jamaica, the high school kids, to help them move along to the professional level. I'll miss mostly the competition really, and the crowds."
Despite the success that has come throughout the Jamaican's career, he has had to deal with adversity along the way, including having to manage scoliosis.
"I've had it since I was young," stated Bolt, "I've always had that problem. I've always tried to keep it in check, especially when doing exercise, which helps. It's harder work [dealing with scoliosis]. You have be a lot more dedicated and focused to make sure you keep it at bay."
The second half of Bolt's career has been inextricably linked with his rivalry with Justin Gatlin. The American has regularly come second to Bolt in major events, and has served two bans for drug offences. Despite his role as pantomime villain in many events, Bolt does not treat Gatlin any differently to the other athletes he competes against.
"Sport is like that because of what he represents I think. I just look at him like a competitor. I can't be the one [to talk], because I don't make the rules."
Usain Bolt, Nickel Ashmeade, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie
In Brazil especially, the crowd were fully on Jamaican's side, openly booing Gatlin. Noting just how important that support is for him, Bolt stated that the buzz in stadium can give an athlete that extra edge, and must have an effect on his opponent too:
"I live for a great crowd. When there's a great crowd, it really helps you run fast. I can just imagine if the crowd is booing you, what it can do to you."
"It's a wonderful feeling. I really enjoy it. It's a great feeling to have [to know] that you are loved so much. You work so hard and people really, really recognise what you have done. It's a great feeling."
Despite his athletics career ending next year, Bolt would love to try his hand at another sport. A famous Manchester United fan, the Jamaican would love to try his hand (and feet) at the beautiful game...although he's not expecting a call from Jose Mourinho any time soon.
"Football is something that I've always wanted to try. It's something that is in the back of my head, but it's not first on the agenda."
Aged 30, Bolt is the most iconic athlete in the world, but there's one more challenge ahead of him. This time next year he will have hung up his spikes, but as he told Pat, he hopes that he's heading into retirement with one more gold medal for his collection from London: "I've had a great career, I want to end it on a high note."
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