December 12, 2013
Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the worldThursday, September 5, 2013
‘You do have to be very careful about banned substances’
Trelawny, Jamaica, August 21, 1986
Main achievements: World Records 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19 seconds) in Berlin 2009 and 4x100m (36.84 seconds)
London 2012. Six Olympic Gold Medals: 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Five World Championship Gold Medals:
100m, 200m and 4x100m in Berlin 2009 and Moscow 2013 and 200m and 4x100m in Daegu, 2011.
Usain Bolt skirted around the number one question, drugs during an interview with the Herald in London.
Ever since the news broke that Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell — two of the four fastest men in history — had failed drug tests, the question could not be ignored that if they could not do it legitimately, how can we be sure that Usain Bolt can?
I am glad you asked, because I wanted to explain this. How long have you been following Usain Bolt? Since 2007? But if you were following me since 2002, you would know that I have been doing phenomenal things since I was 15. I was the youngest person to win the World Junior Championships at 15. I ran the World Junior 200m record of 19.93s at 18, the World Youth record at 16. I’ve broken every record there is so I have proven myself since I was 15. That’s all I have to say.
Do you trust the athletes you line up against? How can you be sure they are not taking anything on the banned list without knowing about it?
You do have to be very careful, because right now there are a lot of things on the banned list that you might not know about. It’s kind of hard, but that’s why you need a great team around you that you trust. They read the fine print, I don’t.
Even so, if it is true what Powell claims: that he was caught out by a banned substance in a new range of nutritional supplements, it must make you think twice about anything that passes your lips?
It has made me a little bit paranoid, but you just have to trust your team and be vigilant and be careful of your surroundings... and a little bit paranoid.
At the start of your career, many people, including your coach, felt you were better suited to longer sprint distances.
Running the 400m wasn’t fun at all. It was always painful, but I was good at it, so I used to do it. But I never liked it, so I went back to the 100m. In the early season however, everyone has to run at least two 400m races as part of our winter schedule. But the fact that my main rivals (Gay and Powell) are not there is motivating me even more to run fast. Because the usual competition is not there, you have to be even more focused. There are youngsters coming up and I don’t want to get beaten and have people saying there was nobody there and he lost. But I do admit that with leading competitors under suspension it could be harder to run the kind of record breaking times which people expect from me.
You have said that you want to be a legend. Have you achieved your aim?
I was the first man to win the 100m and 200m in two Olympics in succession. I think I have! What do you think?
But once you have become a legend, the temptation is there to think that’s it, the job is done. Have you ever felt like this?
Initially, you think so, but it’s simple. Anybody can go for two (Olympics), so I am going to try for three — that is my plan. So if anybody comes along to win at two Olympics, they will have to work really hard.
But there is also Justin Gatlin. Do you see him as a threat?
I see everyone as a threat, because in a race there are so many things that can go wrong. You just have to be aware of everybody and take note who reaches the finals, because there might be a few new faces there that you have never seen or competed against.
Although you won three titles at last year’s Olympic Games, you only set one world record (in the 4x100m relay) and some people thought you were getting past it. Did that irk you a little?
Coming into London, I was not really worried about setting world records as I did not really compete before the Olympics and all the talk was about Yohan and whether he would beat me. It made the Olympics more interesting, so it was good for the sport and good to have this competition. I remember during the 100m final I looked across and saw I was going to win and thought you could break the world record, but it was too late because I was just focusing on winning.
People also heard about your other skills, about your fast bowling and having clean- bowled Chris Gayle in a charity cricket match. Shane Warne wanted you to play for Melbourne All Stars.
It is something I would try, but then it came at a bad time. Soccer is on the cards for me when I retire from running. Hopefully, I can get in a few charity matches before then.
You became friendly with (now retired) manager Alex Ferguson, but have you made contact with the new Manchester United boss, David Moyes?
No, I haven’t, but I am waiting for Alex to put the meeting together so that I can let him know that I would very much like to play for his team if good enough. However, there is one sport I am sure I will not take up — tennis, it’s harder than it looks. I can serve pretty good, but after that it’s just rubbish. I have a young neighbour who plays tennis and one day he said he was going to the tennis club. I was bored at the time and said I would come along and this 11-year-old had me running around the court like crazy. And golf, it sucks! I am not good and I would not be one of those old guys playing golf when can’t run any more.
Back to drugs, but too late. Bolt said he had another appointment. Somebody said that if Bolt is ever caught with a positive drug test, it would be the end of athletics. Strong words, but who knows ...