Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Bolt: If there is one thing I would have liked ...

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM



That's what nine-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt says he is likely to be doing this time next year, but as it stands, it will come with knowing that he has missed out on an important target - running below 19 seconds in the 200m.

Bolt says he has basically given up on lowering his own 19.19 seconds 200m world record. It's a large reason behind his decision to only focus on the 100m in his farewell season in 2017, with the sprinter, while noting that its not an obsession, accepting that he does stand a better chance of testing his 100m mark of 9.58 seconds before he calls it a day.

Since setting the double world records at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, Bolt has only one comparatively 'close' once in the 100m - his 9.63 win at the London Olympic Games, with his best 200m time since then being 19.32 also recorded at London 2012.

"That's the one thing that I missed out on (not breaking the 19-second barrier)," said Bolt yesterday. "I wouldn't say it's a regret, but not breaking 19 seconds is probably the only thing that I missed out on. It wouldn't be a regret because no-one thought I would run 19.19 - not even me, so it was something that was possible and I missed out on that."

Bolt noted that not testing the record despite his best efforts at this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro provided the clearest indication yet that it was unlikely to happen again.

"After last season, I kind of figured out no matter how hard I work at this point, it's going to be hard to get the 200m world record right now, plus it's a lot more work. For me, coming to the end of my career, I am not trying to do more work than I have to do. If I only run the 100m and 4x100m, then my workload will be cut - I wouldn't say significantly, but it will be cut down because it's just the 100m and I wouldn't have to do so much work in training," Bolt added.

"When I came off the track in Rio de Janeiro, my coach looked at me and asked if I really thought I could break the 19 seconds barrier, and said that I couldn't. So I asked him why he didn't tell me that before. In my mind, I genuinely thought I could have run under 19 seconds until I came off the corner and my legs decided they were not going to do anything about it, but it's just one of those things," he said.


Won't be returning


Bolt was also quick to dismiss any possibility of him taking a break after next season and returning to competitive action a couple years later for a chance to add to his nine Olympic gold medals.

"I've discussed that with my coach and he always says I should never retire and come back to the sport and that I have to be sure when I retire. This is why he always tells me to take it one season at a time to make sure I am ready when I am ready. Most athletes that leave the sport and come back - it never goes well. Track and field is very difficult, so if you leave and put weight on and do no running, to come back two years from that and compete again, it would not be the same," Bolt reasoned. "A lot of people at 30 have not accomplished, what I accomplished so I think I have accomplished all that I wanted to.

And the thing that he is most looking forward to doing after retirement?

"I'm pretty much looking forward to doing nothing, just knowing that for the rest of my life, I don't have to go to training and anything like that, that I don't have to go to the track unless I really want to go - that's what I am looking forward to."

- Andre Lowe