Usain Bolt: Q & A - Jamaica Star newspaper

Usain Bolt - ahead of the pack

AT 17 YEARS OLD Usain Bolt is a two-time CARIFTA 200-metre champion, the Jamaican national 200-metre champion and the world junior 200-metre world record holder.

He is also the first athlete his age to run under 20 seconds over the distance having run an amazing 19.93 seconds to blitz the field at the recently concluded CARIFTA Games in Bermuda. And with his sights firmly set on the Olympic Games in Greece in August, Usain Bolt aims to run even faster.

THE STAR managed to slow Bolt down yesterday for five minutes to ask him a few questions after his triumphant return to the island earlier this week. Considering how fast he runs, it must have seemed like an eternity for him.

QUESTION: How does it feel to be the fastest ever teenager in the history of the sport of track and field?

BOLT: It feels very good. I am really proud of myself and I’ll be trying to continue being the fastest.

QUESTION: Already people are comparing you to Michael Johnson, and some of the fastest ever athletes over the 200 metres. Who are your role models and what do you take from them?

BOLT: Michael Johnson and Herb McKenley are my role models. I like both because of their techniques, the way they ran.

QUESTION: Are you surprised at how fast you have developed as a sprinter and does it scare you, the talent that you possess?

BOLT: No, it does not scare me. I know I have great talent, and I am not really surprised any at all.

QUESTION: As you prepare for the Olympics what are the greatest challenges facing you as a junior athlete about to compete against the best athletes in the world?

BOLT: “I just need to train hard and work toward what I want. I am training hard and hoping to do my best.”

QUESTION: Do you believe, barring injury or any unforeseen circumstances, that the gold medal is yours in Athens?

BOLT: I won’t say gold. I am hoping I can just get a medal. I am halfway through my training and I am doing good so far.

QUESTION: How have your parents been coping with you away from home (in Trelawny), living on your own, carving out your niche in track and field history?

BOLT: They are coping well. They call me a lot to make sure that I am okay. They are supporting me a lot.

QUESTION: What has been the biggest change now from how you lived your life while you were a student at William Knibb?

BOLT: Moving from out of school and changing my coach. (Private tutoring) is

much easier than school, there are less distractions. It’s been a good change.

QUESTION: Do you have time for socializing, girlfriends, and other such pursuits now that your life has taken on the busy schedule of a world class athlete?

BOLT: I do have a personal life. I do have my little ‘friend’. I enjoy my life.

QUESTION: What other sports do you like and if you were not a sprinter what other sport would you play?

BOLT: I like basketball and cricket but I like basketball more. I was once a fastbowler.

QUESTION: After track and field, what next?

BOLT: I am looking at going into computing, doing a major in computing. The world is changing when it comes to technology and I am looking toward that.

QUESTION: Was it a difficult decision to remain here in Jamaica after being offered so many scholarships, and having done so do you think it is a significant step in helping to develop even further track and field here in Jamaica?

BOLT: My parents and I sat down and decided that I would not go overseas. I think it was a good decision. Regarding facilities, athletes need more help from the Government if we are to keep athletes from going overseas.

QUESTION: Does the world record (19.32 seconds) still seem far away?

BOLT: Nothing is impossible but I am not looking at that right now. I am just looking toward the Olympics right now.

QUESTION: What is the most memorable thing that an athlete younger than yourself has said to you?

BOLT: That I am their role model and that they would like to be like me someday.