JAMAICAN sprinter Usain Bolt is arguably the fastest man in the world. With a catchy name that befits his talent, the nine-time Olympic gold medalist (now eight), has successfully branded himself as the undisputed “King of Sprint,” and deservingly so.
At the recent 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Bolt won three gold medals in the 100-meter, 200-meter race, and 4×100-meter relay, bringing his total to nine gold medals to complete his “Triple-Triple” record during his 12-year Olympic career which took him across continents to Beijing (2008), London (2012), and Rio (2016).
After each victory, Bolt, `The BrandLaureate Legendary Award winner’ strikes his signature ‘Lightning Bolt’ pose to appease his raving fans which has become his trademark call, as he gladly demonstrated again to 3000 delegates during the GTF 2017 conference recently.
During his interview, CNN news personality Richard Quest asked bluntly:
“Why are you so cocky when you are on tracks?” And Bolt replied: “That’s my personality coming out and not because I was trying to show off. People enjoy it, and I do it.”
During the `live’ interview, Bolt projected a cool and confident persona as the crowd was eager to hear from the horses’ mouth how he did it, and what drove him to become the world’s fastest man.
Although he makes running seems lightning easy, most people do not realize the amount of hard work and sacrifices he has to put through, to set this splendid record.
In the 2016 documentary “I Am Bolt: The Legacy of the Fastest Man in History,” Bolt revealed that he has to go through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, besides the guidance of a good coach, to become a running machine. He also shared a few inspirational thoughts on what it takes to become a champion.
“For me, it is always dream big, never dream small. Work hard, and be dedicated! When I get to the line, I am confident that I am going to win at all times, no matter what or what’s going on,
“Even if I end up losing, I am still confident that I am going to win,” Bolt stated boldly, adding that confidence is the key, or there would be no show.
But building great confidence comes with price. “I’ve always explained to people why I am so confident, why I am so rehearsed, why I am so fun… it is because I train hard. A lot of people see a lot of things out there and think `Oh, I can do this.’ Yes, you can, but it is not easy to get to the top, or become the best!”
Growing up in Jamaica, Bolt played football and cricket, and was spotted running around the outfield as a schoolboy. His breakthrough came at the age of 15, when he emerged the youngest 200m champion at the 2002 World Junior Championship in Kingston.
11 years later, Bolt went on to redefine the limits of sprinting at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, where he set a world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100-metre dash.
Today, Bolt attributes his success to Glen Mills OD, 68, his coach and friend who honed him into a world champion. He trusts Mills completely and listens to everything he says, because the man knows his stuff and always guide him in the right path.
A sprinting athletics coach from Jamaica, Mills was the head coach of the Jamaican Olympic athletics team between 1987 and 2009.
Currently, he is the head coach of the Racers Track Club which includes world and Olympic record holder Usain Bolt and the 100-metre World Champion Yohan Blake.
Bolt is slow starter, but a good finisher, and one important lesson Coach Mills taught him is about letting go.
“Just focus on what you are good at and forget the rest. You cannot worry about things you cannot control. Better to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses,” which has become his grounding life philosophy.”
In another encounter, Bolt said he used to study the profiles of other runners to beat the competition, but Mills advised him against that.
As pressure builds up on the race day, Bolt figured it is more productive to distract his mind during the unforgiving minute with of what he wants to do after the race – like going shopping, meeting with friend, playing video games, and watching movies to turn off the pressure, so that he can just concentrate on running and winning, as life returns to normal after the race.
Letting go of what he can’t control applies in another incident when he was stripped of a gold medal in January 2017, when his teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance in the Mens’ 4×100 meter relay at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Bolt felt disappointed to reduce his tally to eight gold medals, but has to accept the fact it is out of his control, after the International Olympic Committee made the decision nine years later.
“I haven’t spoken to Carter since that day, but eventually I will, and ask him why he did it…,” said Bolt, adding he saw a lot of potential in Carter, but never realize he would resort to drugs which ruined his career, and others’.
Although he is only 29, at an age where life has barely begun for most people, Bolt is ready to retire. Competitive sports is not all fun and games, as we all know it.
Like most young adults, he missed the carefree life hanging out with friends in Jamaica, and doing the ordinary things that most people do. Having competed professionally for 12 years, Bolt felt he has paid his dues and is ready to move on.
At the moment, he is back to Jamaica to spend time with his mom, playing the role of Mama’s boy, besides taking the opportunity to escape the cold winter blues in the United States.
Announcing his retirement plans after the World Athletics Championships London in August 2017, Bolt said will take things easy for one year to catch up with lost time, before pursuing his next passion – SOCCER.
Bolt believes that he has got talent for soccer, and has been planning to pursue his dream for some time; would’ve doubted him?
We wish Usain Bolt the best of luck, as we can’t wait to see him blaze new trails in another field – and this time to score goals instead of gold.