Usain Bolt could have run centuries instead of track
Life might have spun in a different direction for the world’s fastest man. Usain Bolt grew up during the glory days of Caribbean cricket, when the West Indies were a force to be reckoned with. The 29-year-old Jamaican sprinter is an avid cricket fan and aspired to follow in the footsteps of cricketing greats such as Courtney Walsh or Curtly Ambrose.
“I was always going to be an athlete. But if they didn’t turn me into a track star, I would have been a cricketer,” Bolt told Mr Porter in a new interview.
Bolt, who was the opening batsman and bowler for his local team, could have been a contender, and might have been if he listened to his dad.
“My father is a huge cricket fan, but when I got to higher secondary, I had two options – cricket or athletics,” he has said previously. “But I just happened to run fast. They said, try track and field, and I continued because it was easy and I was winning.”
Bolt’s father supported his decision to give up cricket and focus on running.
“He said I should do running because it’s an individual sport, and if you do good, you do good for yourself,” he told The Guardian.
He did himself good – and then some. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bolt became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record times. He secured a third gold as part of the 4x100m relay team that also smashed the world record. Bolt made history again at the London Olympic Games in 2012, defending all three Olympic titles with 100m, 200m and 4x100m victories.
Hardly one to play down his own incredible talent, Bolt is confident that he will defend his titles in Rio later this year.
“Now it’s all about securing my legacy. 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,” he told Runner’s World. “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.”
In February this year, Bolt announced that he will retire after the 2017 World Championships.
So what does the future hold for the world’s greatest athlete? It seems his cricket dreams may have passed.
“I always wanted to try to play soccer. Maybe at the end of my [track] career. It would be something that I would love to try,” he said. “If I keep myself in shape, I can definitely play football at a high level.”
In fact, he has Manchester United, 12-time FA Cup winners and the former club of David Beckham, in his sights, he told the Los Angeles Times.
“I think I should do a trial and see if they would say ‘Alright, come on in’ or if they would say ‘No, you are not any good’. I think I would be pretty good because I am fit, I am quick, I can control the ball and I understand all of the play.”
If his dream to join The Red Devils doesn’t come to fruition, his backup plan may not be what you’d expect from an Olympic great.
“I own a bar in Kingston – Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records, so there’ll be enough to keep me busy.”
The bar, which covers more than 7,000 square feet, has multiple bar & lounge areas, a mezzanine, VIP booths, hi-tech seating, and a retail shop that carries exclusive Brand Bolt products.
And if that’s not surprising enough, here are 10 more facts you didn’t know about Bolt…
- He lets him Mum clip his toenails “You’re never too old or famous for that.”
- Those toe nails are huge considering they come from his size 13 feet.
- His favourite phone app is dominoes, taking precedence over his very own phone app ‘Bolt’
- He wants to race a cheetah
- Ackee and sailfish with banana and yam is his favourite breakfast… say whaaat?!
- He has recurring dreams about someone chasing him with a gun (perhaps this is the real secret to his ongoing success?)
- Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ is his song of choice to sing in the shower.
- His favourite emoji is the crying with laughter face
- One leg is half an inch shorter than the other, caused by his scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
- He survived on a diet of chicken nuggets at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hmmm… That reminds me of another world champ, Jordan Mercer… maybe I should start eating nuggets.
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