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‘I’m still the best’, says Bolt

Published:Tuesday | May 19, 2015 | 5:00 AMShayne Fairman
Usain Bolt celebrating his win in the 200 metres final at the London Olympics. Bolt has set his sights on strengthening his legacy with gold medal wins at the World Championships in August and 2016 Rio Olympics

Amid concerns about his form and the early-season rumblings of his biggest rival, American Justin Gatlin, Jamaica's six-time Olympic gold medallist, Usain Bolt, roars: "I'm still here and I'm still the best."

That's his message for critics and rivals ahead of this year's International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, China, where he sped to a sprint double world record 9.69 and 19.30 seconds, respectively, at the 2008 Olympics.

The 29-year-old Jamaican outlined his goals in a Jamaica Olympics interview posted Sunday on the website www.teamja.org.

Bolt's all-important schedule includes the World Championships in Beijing in August, the Rio Olympics 2016 and the London World Championships in 2017. By then, he intends to hang up his illustrious spikes.

"The plan in that time is three golds in Beijing; three in Rio to make a triple-triple; and then one in London, as I'll only be doing the 100 metres," Bolt outlined.

"In short, I'm aiming for continued greatness," he added.

Having done it all and seen dizzying heights in his incomparable career, Bolt is continuing his push to preserve his legacy.

"In the past, we (coach, Glen Mills) have sometimes focused on the clock and getting records. Other times, it has been on medals. Now it's all about securing my legacy," he underscored.

"I'm already the greatest sprinter of all time, but if I continue to win golds, I could be the greatest athlete of all time," the icon said.

"Someone may come along one day and break one of my records, but to beat my legacy, they have to beat my whole body of work. So the more I can win, the greater that gets, and the harder it will be to overshadow. That's what's getting me out of bed now," he assured.

fear of failure

With mind-boggling achievements on the track, Bolt notes that his psyche has got him where he is, and will continue to see him through.

"I use fear of failure a lot, it's a powerful tool. In the past, I'd focus just on peaking for major championships, but if you do that too much, then on your downtime, someone may pop up from nowhere and beat you. And being beaten takes some of the shine off your reputation," he stressed.

"I'm proud never to have been beaten in a senior championship race since I first broke the 100m world record in May 2008," underlined Bolt.

Leaving nothing to chance, the iconic sprinter maintains hard all-round diligence, even in fitness and diet.

"To perform how I want, I have to be perfect in training, and eating right is a part of training. I've backed off hard liquor too - rum and stuff - but I still drink Guinness, or a Heineken or two. A guy's got to have something, right?

"Every three months, I visit a doctor in Germany for a full body MOT, and I've not failed one yet."

Notwithstanding, the ace sprinter's training regime is as hard as ever.

"Normally, we break in slowly at the start of the season and build up, but this year, coach has started me off doing more reps than before, each one faster and with less rest in between.

"He wants to shock my body into adapting quicker now that it's a bit older," he explained.

protecting legacy

All this, heading into the eagerly anticipated World Champs clash against world-leading American Gatlin and Jamaica's perennial sub-10 sprinter Asafa Powell, among others.

"The World Champs, I tend to be more laid back about, but this new way of looking at motivation will, hopefully, ensure I compete at my best throughout. I no longer think about what the fans want, or who is running what times and who I need to be on the lookout for. I just think about me, and doing my job," Bolt admitted.

The superstar notes that his most important races could yet be ahead.

"Legacy is the main word in my life now, and that means if I'm five metres ahead with 10 to go, I won't be slowing down and beating my chest. I'll be pushing to get the best time I can, every time," Bolt concluded.