Ja's sprint legend Usain Bolt eager for World Athletics role to impact track and field

By Sports Desk May 31, 2023
Usain Bolt Usain Bolt

Jamaica’s Sprint Legend Usain Bolt says he remains eager to play another impactful role in track and field’s growth and, as such, is awaiting a position from World Athletics to hit the ground running.

The 36-year-old, who shot to fame by winning eight Olympic titles and 11 World Championships gold medals, while breaking records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, believes the track and field has experienced somewhat of a decline since his retirement in 2017, but stands ready to assist in the sport’s revival, if asked to do so.

“I’m still waiting on a position from (World Athletics), I’ve reached out to them and let them know I would love to make a bigger impact in sports, as long as they want me to,” Bolt said in an interview with Reuters.

“We’ve been in talks, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes around,” the global phenom and one of Jamaica’s most recognizable figures, added.

Bolt is aware that his personality was a vital ingredient in the sport’s success during his era but pointed out to indications that athletes like US sprinter Noah Lyles, might be starting to fill the charisma gap.

“It’s going to be a process. After me, it kind of went down because of who I was as a person and how big my personality was,” the iconic sprinter shared. 

“But I think over time, it will be better. I think young athletes are coming up and I see a few personalities that are needed in sport; hopefully, in the upcoming years, it will change. Hopefully, I can play a part and help the sport to grow,” Bolt stated.

While there was some disappointment about the crowd turnout at last year’s World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Bolt is of the view that next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France, could be a special moment for the sport.

“Sometimes, it’s all about where it is. America is not the biggest track and field place,” Bolt said.

“I think Paris will be big because it’s accessible and I know Paris always has a good team and good athletes over the years. So, I look forward to that,” he noted.

After a decade of Bolt-inspired global dominance, Jamaica’s men have failed to win a single track gold medal at the last two World Championships.

However, with rising young sprinters Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake both showing considerable promise of success, Bolt believes there is a good platform for that medal drought to be broken at this year’s championships in Budapest, Hungary.

“Last year, Seville came fourth (in the 100m), so I was very impressed. Also now, there’s a young kid, Ackeem Blake, who is also stepping up. So, I think that’s a good start,” the 11-time world champion said.

“Hopefully, these two will motivate other youngsters to want to step up and want to train harder and dedicate themselves,” he reasoned.

On that note, Bolt said he would be keeping a close eye on compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the World Championships in August.

Fraser-Pryce, also 36, who has led Jamaica’s dominance in the women’s sprints, will be seeking a record-extending sixth world 100m title in Hungary, 14 years after making her debut in the global showpiece of track and field.

“I follow Shelly a lot because we came through the same era, so to see her continue sprinting and coming back from having a child, that’s impressive,” said Bolt.

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