The good guy versus the bad guy battle is almost over. With just the relays to come, Usain Bolt is sitting pretty with two gold medals. The fans are happy, the fraternity is happy and the big man himself had a broad smile on his face as he looked ahead to the future, more specifically to the coming year.
The Olympic Games will be the main focus next year and Bolt is expected to be the centre piece of the track and field programme but his comments that he may leave the sport for good after the Games has come as a dampener for the fans who were looking forward to a last hurrah at the next World Championships in London in 2017.
“I want to run but I think the sport is not as fun as it used to be, it is more taxing,” Bolt told the BBC. “I can’t enjoy it as much as I want to because I have to sacrifice more.” Later, at the post-race press conference, Bolt said he will push on till London only if he felt focused enough after Rio. “That will determine whether I compete after Rio,” he said.
In a dazzling career, the Jamaican has won everything on offer -- besides six Olympic Gold medals and 10 World Championships gold medals he also owns the world records in 100M and 200M as well as a share of the 4x100 mark. Often, he has remarked that his main motivation for running was to become a legend. He already is one but a repeat show in Rio will take him to an exalted sphere.
Stress on body
With his body beginning to protest seriously at the stress it is being subjected to, it is hard to see Bolt extend his stay by one more year, putting on line his reputation and the desire to stay number one till the day he retires. But one factor will drive him on next season, besides the Olympic gold quest.
“One of my goals is to run under 19 seconds for 200M. So if I want to run that, I have to really push myself next season because I think that is the only season I’ll have to really do that and I really want to go fast,” he said.
Bolt’s 200M world record stands at 19.19 and on Thursday, he timed 19.55, despite slowing down and celebrating near the finish. He said it was about protecting his awesome record in his favourite event. “As I have said, the 100M is really for the fans, for my coach, but the 200 is for me,” said Bolt. “I have only lost once in 200M after Beijing (in 2008) so I wasn’t planning to lose this one.”
Bolt, who was knocked down by a cameraman on a segway during his victory lap, joked Gatlin was behind it. “I can start a rumour right now that Justin Gatlin paid him off,” he said. Gatlin, seated alongside, immediately retorted: “I want my money back, he didn’t do his job properly.”
Fun part aside, Bolt confirmed he will be ready for the relays. “The Americans beat us at the World Relays, so we have to be ready for them. Many things can go wrong in a relay.”