At just 30 years of age and with an enviable sports career, Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, will bid farewell to the track next season, following the London 2017 World Championships in Athletics, to be held August 5-13.
Despite being expected – with some predicting his retirement following the 2016 Olympic Games in Río de Janeiro – the news moved fans of the Jamaican runner and lovers of the sport in general, Prensa Latina reported.
“Yes, I am definitely going to retire after the world championships,” Bolt told Television Jamaica’s Smile morning magazine program.
He also revealed that before the competition, he has a surprise in store exclusively for his compatriots: “The Racers Grand Prix will be my last race in Jamaica people, it will be the last time I run in Jamaica.”
Thus the track star will be immortalized in the sport's history books, despite the mixed feelings of his fans, many of whom still believe Bolt is in top condition to beat any rival seeking to dispute his world title, both in the 100 and 200 meter sprints.
This view is backed by Bolt’s performance in Río, where he achieved his third consecutive Olympic triple (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Río de Janeiro 2016), when he blazed to victory in the 100m and 200m sprints, before helping his team secure the 4x100m relay title, an unprecedented feat that will be very difficult to match or surpass, for a total of nine Olympic gold medals.
What appeared easy to the eyes of mere mortals, and was expected by others, was, however, a much greater challenge for the mythical runner than on previous occasions.
“I am just relieved. It’s happened. I am just happy, proud of myself. It’s come true,
The pressure is real. I look at it as an accomplishment,” Bolt told reporters.
While it is true that the1.95 meters tall Jamaican did not run with the same speed as previously, he nevertheless demonstrated the necessary energy and explosiveness to secure the triple title. Bolt had already equaled the feats of Jesse Owens (Berlin 1936) and Carl Lewis (Los Angeles 1984) of the U.S. in Bejing 2008, until then the only athletes to have secured the Olympic triple (110, 200 and 4x100m).
“I would have never thought I could go back-to-back-to-back at the Olympics. The first one, I was just happy. The second one was a challenge, and then to come here and do the third one is just unbelievable. I hope I’ve set the bar high enough so that no one can do it again,” he added.
All of us who have enjoyed watching this great will never forget his exceptional records of 9.58 seconds in the 100m and 19.19 in the 200m sprints at the Berlin 2009 World Athletics Championships, which never ceased to raise suspicions and resentment, particular in the U.S. media.
A year earlier, at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the same media had questioned his record of 19.30 seconds in the 200m race, which until then was held by Michael Johnson (19.32, Atlanta 1996), controversy which saw Bolt undergo 11 anti-doping controls in the Chinese capital, all of which came back negative.
Bolt also boasts a total of 11 gold medals at the World Championships, distributed between Berlin 2009 (3), Daegu 2011 (2), Moscow 2013 (3) and Beijing 2015 (3), as well as two silver medals in Osaka 2007.
Even though that inquisitorial point of view and suspicions surrounding such prodigious results still linger for some, the truth is that when the global competition in London 2017 comes to an end, it will be an edition marked in history not only due to the great sporting results seen there, but for having witnessed the last great feat of this living legend of the track. (PL)
BOLT TO RECEIVE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR A SIXTH TIME?
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt could be recognized as Athlete of the Year for the sixth time, as he features among the contenders announced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on November 9.
According to EFE, the three male finalists (in alphabetical order as specified by the IAAF) are Usain Bolt (JAM), Mo Farah (GBR) and Wayde van Niekerk (RSA). While the three female candidates are: Almaz Ayana (ETH), Elaine Thompson (JAM) and Anita Wlodarczyk (POL).
Bolt received the award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and, if he wins, he will succeed Ashton Eaton of the U.S. who was chosen last year. Meanwhile, all of the women nominees are first time contenders.
EFE noted that fifty percent of the votes to determine the finalists came via the IAAF Council, while the other fifty percent were shared equally between the so-called IAFF Family (member federations, committee members, meeting directors, athlete ambassadors, athletes’ representatives, top athletes, members of the international press, staff members and official partners) and the public vote conducted via social media.
The Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016. (Digital news staff)