Bolt: From perspiration to inspiration

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Former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt addresses a press conference at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia. Photo: REUTERS
Former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt addresses a press conference at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia. Photo: REUTERS

Usain Bolt sometimes still can’t quite believe what he achieved in his career.

But back at the Commonwealth Games as a spectator on Thursday, the former sprint champion was happy to avoid the perspiration and just act as an inspiration to others.

A relay gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealths in Glasgow, the Jamaican said he was busier than ever after last year’s retirement.

The former sprinter said he was focused, in the sporting arena at least, entirely on his nascent career as a footballer.

The 31-year-old’s jet-set lifestyle left him little time for the post-career blues, Bolt said, but he did still frequently take time to contemplate
his extraordinary success.

“I sometimes with my best friend say, ‘Can you believe it, what we’ve done?’

“Because I’m from the rural area of Jamaica, the country, and I used to play football in the streets,” he told a news conference
on the Gold Coast.

“I kicked around bottles, anything I could get my hands on, I’d run around in bare feet, at no point in time did I think I would be
at this level.

“So for me it’s just amazing, sometimes I just sit back and be wowed because I’ve done so much.”

The eight-times Olympic and 11-times world champion said one of the most satisfying aspects of his career was having spurred on
others by his example.

“All the time I get messages (or) people see me. Not only track athletes or sports people, but just regular people, who say I’ve inspired
them to do well, to work hard, to be a doctor or just do better for themselves,” he added.

“For me it’s unbelievable, but I’m just happy to inspire people to be better, it’s just mind-blowing sometimes.”

A packed news conference room at an often near-deserted media center on the Gold Coast told its own tale of Bolt’s
enduring appeal.

But he said he thought it would only be a matter of time before new talents came along to eclipse him.

“It’s not always going to be like this, but it’s going to take time,” he said.

“I’ve said it to a few athletes, this is your time. The sport definitely needs someone to step up and be that person. It’s a
wide open field.

“But I’m still track and field…”


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