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Usain Bolt - Sprinter plans to stay in athletics after retirement

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:00 AMAndre Lowe
Usain Bolt displaying his award.

This year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will certainly be the last for sprinting icon Usain Bolt, but the Jamaican speedster says he plans to stay in the sport as an ambassador and help to push it forward when he does decide to hang up his spikes.

Bolt, who yesterday collected a Gleaner Honour Award for sport after another dominant season in 2015, following his triple gold medal performance at the World Championships in Beijing, China, says he hopes to continue inspiring people off the track long after his final race.

"Whenever I do retire, I will try to stay in the sport. I will try to help to motivate people - talk to people, or be an ambassador for the sport in the best way that I can - and just try to keep helping the sport and keep on pushing it forward," said Bolt.

Bolt recovered from a so-so start to his season to retain his World Championships titles in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m in what he described as his most challenging season. His latest hat-trick of gold medals took his World Championships tally to a record 11, which goes pretty well with his six Olympic titles.

He is not expected to compete at a major championships beyond the 2017 World Championships in London.

The double sprint world record holder also took time to thank The Gleaner for this latest recognition, while reminiscing on his earliest experiences with the company.

"It's always one of the biggest things to be acknowledged by Jamaicans, so for me it's a great feeling because I continue trying to push the barriers and push Jamaica out there, so it's great to be awarded by The Gleaner," said Bolt.

"As you know, I grew up in the 'country', you know. We were in the proper rural area, but we got it (Gleaner), and when I came to Kingston, I paid a lot more attention. The Gleaner is an institution. It's an established company in Jamaica, and this means a lot to me," Bolt added.

The 29-year-old also has high hopes for Jamaica's freshman class of sprinters but says it's left to be seen how well they adapt and apply themselves where preparation and performance are concerned.

"There are a lot of great Jamaican talents out there. The only problem is always whether they can handle the mental strain of training and then go out there and compete against the best, but if they can handle that, then we will see some good things," said Bolt.

Bolt is looking to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games, after competing in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), and London (2012).

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com