Usain St Leo Bolt, a Jamaican retired sprinter, widely known as the greatest sprinter of all time will not be participating in this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, having retired from the sport in 2017.
This year’s competition will be the first Olympics since 2000 in which the sprinter won’t be seen on the track.
The 34-year-old told CNN Sport in March that he was looking forward to being a spectator of the games as opposed to competing.
“I’m definitely excited to be in the stands,” he said. “I’ve never got an opportunity to really watch Olympic Games, to either go [watch] swimming, the soccer or just to see all the events. So I’m excited to actually get the chance to really experience Olympics like a true fan.”
An 11-time world champion, Bolt remains the fastest man in the world, having set a record of 9.58 seconds over the 100-meter sprint at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, as well as his 200-meter world record of 19.19 seconds.
But his greatest professional accolades are his eight Olympic gold medals — three of which he won at consecutive Games, he told CNN.
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“It’s always going to be the [Olympic] gold medals,” Bolt said. “I think that’s what really stamped my authority on the sport, you know what I mean, I showed my dominance throughout the years.
Usain Bolt says he isn’t worried should his records eventually be broken with the help of such technology, rather than pure physical prowess.
“The fact that everyone will know why, then it doesn’t bother me,” he explains. “As I said, I’m happy to be the fastest man in the world, but it was always the gold medals that really mattered to me because that’s how you really prove yourself, you know what I mean.
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“There are so many people that could say: ‘I’m a former world record holder,’ but there are not a lot of people who can say: ‘I won — well, just me — three Olympic gold medals back-to-back.’
“So for me, this is why I pushed myself so hard to dominate, because I know at any point in time somebody can just break your record and then if you put so much on that, then what do you have left?”
While some athletes struggle to come to terms with retirement, Bolt is very much enjoying his.
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Since Bolt stepped away from athletics, the sport has been trying to find the next generation of athletes to be its torchbearers. Unfortunately, as it did with other sports around the round, the coronavirus pandemic curtailed the athletics season and, eventually, forced the Tokyo Games’ postponement until 2021.
Given the impact of the stunted schedule on most athletes, Bolt believes it’s only fair to allow them a prolonged period of preparation before burdening them with being the sport’s next leading lights.
“You know, normally I would always say who I think, but now I just sit back and watch,” he says. “Especially after the pandemic, a lot of people have sat out the season without getting a chance to compete even once.
“So now that the fact that it’s going to start, I’m just going to watch see how the season goes and then I can say: ‘You know what, this person looks like they were serious. They kept themselves in shape during the pandemic.’ So we just have to sit and watch and see what happens.”