Last Updated- May 18, 2009 5:02 GMT | 116 views | 0 Comments
Bolt: I won’t defend my 100m Olympic crown in London
Olympic champion Usain Bolt says he will give up running the 100m to concentrate on the longer sprints and cement his place among the legends of the track.
But the 22-year-old Jamaican’s desire to be ranked alongside the likes of American super-athlete Michael Johnson means he would sacrifice the chance to defend his Olympic 100m crown at the London Games in 2012. And the absence of the fastest man in the world from the blue riband event of the Games would be a huge blow to the organisers.
Bolt, in Manchester for today’s BUPA road races over a specially constructed track in the city, said: ‘My coach wants me to step up to the 400m next season and I think that’s what will happen. The 100m will suffer because it would be difficult to do all three, the 100, 200 and 400. But it doesn’t matter that I may lose the title of the fastest man in the world because I want the 400m world record.
‘It’s the right thing to do at this stage in my career because I want to become a legend, I want to become the first athlete to hold the world record at 100, 200 and 400. If I can do that, I will become the kind of legend that Michael Johnson is.’
Bolt, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay in Beijing last summer, says his ambitions are not confined to personal success. He also wants to improve the image of athletics by proving that drugs are not a prerequisite for success.
‘Drugs have done a lot of damage to the sport and it’s important that people like me do something about improving the image of world athletics,’ he said.
‘People like me and Tyson Gay are both of the same mind. We want to show the rest of the world and other runners that you can be successful and clean.
‘I know there are doubts in people’s minds about performances, whether they’ve been drug-enhanced, but we can change all that just by showing we can win medals, break records and be clean.’
Bolt’s trip to Manchester included meeting his Old Trafford idols — Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand among them — before attending United’s Premier
League match with Arsenal yesterday.
Bolt even gave Ronaldo some advice on how to stay on his feet during games. ‘I think I was able to help him and hopefully make him an even better player than he is,’ said
‘I told him his centre of gravity when he runs was not quite correct. He leans forward, starting with his feet behind him. I pointed out that if he could stand straighter he’d be able to move quicker.’
It was a personal letter from Sir Alex Ferguson that persuaded Bolt to take part in today’s event. The United manager, knowing the Jamaican was an avid United fan, wrote to him and set up the players’ meeting on Friday.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I got a letter from Sir Alex Ferguson hoping I would come this weekend and inviting me to meet him and the players. I just told my coach that I wanted to be here,’ said Bolt.
‘I first started supporting Manchester United when I was 11 back home in Jamaica. My playing hero was Ruud van Nistelrooy.
‘It was a great thrill for me to meet them. When I go back home they’ll want to hear more about meeting people like Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo than they will about any
running that I’m doing.’
Bolt will return to Jamaica tomorrow but next Wednesday will be a party night for him and his family and friends. ‘I’ll be watching the European Cup final on TV with all my mates. And I’ve no doubt that United will win the match — and that will mean much more to me after meeting them all.’