The story appears on

Page A14

October 21, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Athletics

Globe-trotting Bolt craves for a little peace and quiet

TRIPLE Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt has enjoyed a record-breaking two years but is now looking to slow down and "chill" a little.

Back home in Jamaica after another globe-trotting season in which he broke the 100 meters world record for the third time, Bolt is finally hoping to relax before a year in which he is likely to compete and travel less.

The sprinter has been back in Jamaica for around a month and after attending various awards ceremonies and other functions on Sunday he took part in what should have been a fun laid back event, a charity cricket match.

But Jamaica's most famous son does not get much in the way of personal time when he ventures out in public and he was constantly surrounded by fans, spending a good chunk of the day signing autographs and posing for photographs.

Asked if he was able to have any kind of normal life, Bolt revealed a little frustration but was careful to show appreciation for his fans.

"No, no, if I go out to an event I can't get five minutes just to chill out, everyone is always asking me to take pictures, coming up to me wanting autographs and so on," he said.

"I've seen a lot though, so it's not hard to deal with and it's good for me to take time with my fans and take pictures," he said.

As well as a fan base to take care of, the 23-year-old, who was awarded the Order of Jamaica on Monday to make him the youngest person to win the nation's fourth highest honor, also has the responsibility for being the most identifiable symbol of the Caribbean island.

Until recently the image of Bob Marley was the only face to be found on souvenir products with Jamaican tour guides offering trips to buildings associated with the late reggae singer. Now though, guides point out Bolt's old high school in Trelawny and Bolt products dominate at resorts.

The sprinter is well aware that he is expected to present a positive image of his country.

"No question about that - I have been an ambassador for my country since I started track and field. I have led a good life, I've worked hard to put Jamaica on the map, so all I have to do is just to continue on the same road and I should be ok," he said.

With advertising billboards featuring Bolt along the main highways, one of which has been partially named after him, he is clearly getting financial reward in return but now he is ready to cut back on his schedule.

Bolt has not committed to the Commonwealth Games and said no decision had been taken on that event or any other races next year.

"Before the season I always sit down with my coach and we decide what races we want to do for the season and we look at conditions and places where we enjoy competing," he said.

He will not discuss specifics but said that with the worlds in 2011 and the Olympics a year later, there would be much less racing and travelling in 2010.

"That's the plan. We aren't trying to do too much this season because we have two championships in the two years after. We want to take our time and not do too much," he said.

Next week, though, the fastest man in the world plans to travel around Jamaica in search of a place to escape to, a 'Bolt hole' perhaps.

"I don't really go on holidays in Jamaica, I've promised myself I should find some place in Jamaica because I travel a lot but I don't really travel a lot in Jamaica," he said.

"I've decided that next week I am going with some friends and my brother to just travel around Jamaica and see some places," he added.

Then it will be time at home doing what he likes to do when it comes to chilling out.

"Music, dancing, I love to play video games, I am always on video games at home," he said.

But he knows that while he might be ready to ease off, his rivals, primarily fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell and American Tyson Gay, will be looking to get closer to his world records.

"Definitely, Asafa has said he is going to work harder this season, he had a few setbacks (last year), so he will be coming up and definitely Tyson he just came in with 9.69 and that's good so I know he is going to be good.

"I am definitely looking forward to next season - it should be exciting," he said.

But what Bolt is looking forward to most just now is a quiet Sunday in Trelawny with his family.

"Just be at home and maybe go and play soccer in the evening and just chill out with some friends," he said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend