Bolt is our superstar, says Crawford

The 32-year-old American sprinter, who has a best 100M time of 9.88 seconds, has made a slow start to the season but under famous coach John Smith, he hopes to get faster. The ‘Cheetah Man’, who arrived here on Saturday after a 28-hour journey across continents, put his culinary skills to test at the Sunfeast World 10K pasta party, and then, took time off to catch up with the media.

Excerpts:
On Usain Bolt: It’s hard to put in words what he does. It’s one thing to see him run on TV but it’s a whole different thing to be running behind him. You give it all that you can, everything you have, right from the inside and yet he’ll toy with you before beating you bad. He is amazing and he just does it so effortlessly.

Like the greats in other fields -- Michael Jordan in basketball or Michael Jackson in music -- Bolt is our superstar. I have felt bad when he has beaten me but then I realised that I was living in the time of someone really great.

On records:
When you see someone like Bolt running, it just inspires so many children to look at him and say ‘hey if he can do that, I can do better’ and that’s why records never stand. They are meant to be broken. With time times will fall and there are no limits. Someone could run the 100M in 9.4 seconds but then someone watching it could get inspired to run that down. The only real limit is you.

On his goals for the season: I’m looking to get used to John’s (his coach John Smith) programme and when that takes shape I should be going pretty fast. I missed my fall training. But when I get back, it’s going to be back to the drawing board with John.
My goal is to get back to elite shape, the kind of shape that I was in in 2004. I am plannning to return to the track at the Diamond League in Rome (June 10).”

On the Olympics experience: I was happy to have qualified for the Athens Olympics but I was only focused on the 100 metres. I wanted that medal so badly, that I couldn’t appreciate my 200M medal then. I won the gold in 200M and felt empty. That was not right but now I fully appreciate what I have done.

On mental strength: A lot of people say ‘it’s 90 percent mental and ten percent physical’ but for me it’s all physical. I’m just ready to run and I don’t think about anything else. All it requires is focus. Earlier in my career I did not have that but now I’m much more focused and mature.
I go fishing, work on my car (1980 Ford T5), and work on music for a break. I really don’t get distracted. It’s really not hard for me.

On the US-Jamaica dominance in sprinting: I really don’t know why or how that happened but they have runners who have running in their blood.
We have a legacy and we have very good facilities but they have the heart, they have the running spirit and are very diligent.

On the ban on his ex-coach Trevor Graham for violating anti-doping rules: I was pissed off and I am even now. It’s very disappointing. I was barred from a race because my ex-coach was caught in a scandal. I mean, he did it, not me, why not let me take part?  But his training programme was the best I have been under. It had me in the best shape of my life and it just worked so well for me.

On Marion Jones: I wouldn’t want anyone to go to jail but I don’t feel bad for her. She knows what she did and is facing the consequences of it. I have made many mistakes in my life but I don’t feel bad about it.
She has served her time and now I hope she has learnt from her mistake and does well in the WNBA.

On running against a zebra for a TV show: Oh! That was a funny experience then and it is now. But if the question about doing it again arises, I don't think I will. On the other hand I just might. This was in 2003 when Fox Sports had the ‘Man versus Beast’ television programme and I said okay, ‘I'll take part in it’.

I was supposed to be running against a giraffe but he didn’t want to run so they said they had a little surprise for me and brought out a zebra. Initially I thought I could take him on but hey, he has four legs and I have two. Who am I kidding? I could have done it but he got an early start.”

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