Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Bolt defends former coach Glen Mills amid criticism

Published:Tuesday | July 9, 2019 | 12:45 PM
Sprinting legend Usain Bolt makes a point during an interview on Tuesday. (Photo by: Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor)
Coach Glen Mills (right) makes a point to Usain Bolt during a training session during the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in 2013. (File)
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Andre Lowe, Sports Editor

Retired Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt says he is deeply hurt by the recent ‘disrespectful’ comments levelled at his former coach Glen Mills and has come out in strong defence of the Racers Track Club founder and head coach.

Mills, who coached Bolt to eight Olympic and 11 World Championships gold medals, as well as world records in the 100m and 200m, has come under fire in recent times, with a number of athletes under his guidance expressing discontent and deciding to change coaches after disappointing performances on the track.

“It’s the disrespect, as far as I am concerned, Glen Mills is one of the greatest coaches ever,” Bolt told The RJRGLEANER Communications Group during an exclusive interview on Tuesday morning.

“I tell people all the time that anything that coach Mills says, is facts. He has been doing this for a long time, he understands, and he has been coaching before he even ended high school and for me, people need to give credit where it is due.”

Quarter-mile specialist Peter Matthews came under the microscope publicly after he launched a stinging, expletive-laced tirade against the highly-regarded coach on Instagram in a comment under a post by sprinter Kemar Bailey-Cole, who was announcing that he was changing his coaching arrangement. This followed an eight-placed finish in the 100m final at the Supreme Ventures Limited/JAAA National Senior Championships last month.

Olympic 200m bronze medal winner Warren Weir, who failed to make the 200m final at Trials, had last year decided to leave the Racers camp and migrate to Florida, where he now trains. His decision was followed by that of national 100m champion Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champion in the 100m and double Olympic silver medal winner, with Jhevaughn Minzie also being among the recent departures.

Bolt, who underlined that he has no issue with an athlete deciding to change coaches if they see this as the best decision for their careers, says he is deeply bothered by the lack of respect being shown towards Mills and believes athletes should take greater responsibility for their own failures.

“You can leave a coach, I have moved on from coaches, but I didn’t disrespect anybody. We parted ways because of differences that we had but when you are going to try and disrespect a coach – a coach that took you to a level that no one else did, It hurts me personally because it is my coach, and I know he won’t be happy I am defending him like this, but these athletes should know themselves and respect that Glen Mills took them to the highest level they have ever been - they probably won’t get back to that level, but he brought you there!” Bolt stated.

“If you don’t work hard and train hard, how can you be great? I remember when Warren Weir got to the level he was at, he started taking days off to go to Florida, just randomly he and Jason Young, missing training. He is not going to say that but who does that in the middle of a season?

"No one will know these things because it’s everybody’s personal thing. But now I have to say something because if you are going to attack the coach, say everything. That’s why they will never get to a certain level right now. They may post on Instagram that they are working hard, but you are not going to see when they are in Florida or they decide that they are not training,” Bolt blasted.

Bolt teamed up with Mills in 2005 and went on to become what many consider to be the greatest sprinter and one of the greatest athletes in history.