Exclusive: “I want to be remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time”

Reuters

Omar Al Raisi

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice; well the man nick named ‘lightning bolt’ has ridiculed that theory by breaking the men’s 100m and 200m world records twice in the Olympics and the world championships.

You almost run out of adjectives to describe this extraterrestrial athlete whose achievements are of biblical proportions. He is scintillating beyond compare. What will Usain Bolt's legacy be, once he hangs up the spikes'? 

Speaking exclusively to beIN SPORTS, the six-time Olympic champion Bolt says, “I want to be remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.”

When thinking of the greatest ever athletes in all of sports who defined an era beyond the realm of their respective sport; you have Diego Maradona, you have Muhammad Ali and then you have Usain Bolt.

Many has suggested that if the fastest man on the planet wins the 100m and 200m gold medals again for a third consecutive time at the Olympic games in Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, it would be difficult to ignore Usain Bolt as one of the or perhaps the greatest athlete of all time (in all of sports).

“Different people have different opinions and it is difficult to compare sports so I will leave it to the public and fans to decide on who is the greatest.  I have my personal goals and will try to achieve them.” 

Usain Bolt has never been to the UAE, but he says, “I have heard a lot about the country and I would like to come sometime”. UAE has never hosted a major world championship athletics tournament; Bolt is willing to take part if they do.

“Hopefully UAE will organize an athletics event before I retire, I would like to take part. I really appreciate the support of all the fans in the UAE and sincerely thank them for following my performances.  Hope to see you there one day.”

We have rarely seen athletes from the Middle East in the Olympics or the world championships, clearly something isn’t right and something needs to change. For Bolt it’s simple.

“All I can say is that in order to be successful you need talent, hard work, discipline and good coaching.”

Doping has been a worrying issue for many years, that has disrupted the sport of athletics, and the fact that athletes like Justin Gatlin can come back from their bans and maintain such high levels with support from sponsors is much more worrying. But Usain doesn’t feel any extra pressure.

“I do my part and it is up to others to do theirs. I don’t see this as extra pressure. As athletes we all have a responsibility to the sport.”

The Rio 2016 Olympics are only a few months away, Bolt’s record of 19.19 seconds for the 200m has stood since Aug 20, 2009, four days after he set the 100m world record of 9.58 seconds, both at the world athletics championships in Berlin.

Usain Bolt wants to run under 19 seconds and sites being injury free as the “key”.

“The training will not change.  The key is to stay injury free. As sprinters we push our bodies to the limit and sometimes that means injury. My best seasons have come when I had an injury free winter.”

Is he worried about Justin Gatlin or Johan Blake? “I never single out one athlete.  I know there will be seven other athletes in each final and everyone will be trying to win.” Says Bolt

Usain Bolt has no plans to add any field events to extend his legend and career, he is happy to stick with the track events.

“I don’t think I will try any of long jump or triple jump. A few years ago I considered doing the long jump but my coach thought the risk of injury was too high.”