Legend leaves world guessingWILL BOLT BE BACK? World record holder Usain Bolt is undecided about the 2016 Rio Olympics. (AP)
Wed, August 15, 2012 - 12:03 AM
LONDON – Toting his third gold medal of the London Games, Usain Bolt gave a little wave to 80 000 or so of his best friends in the Olympic Stadium stands.
Almost immediately, the questions started: What did that mean? Was Bolt bidding adieu for good? Will he be back? Will the world get to watch him sprint on his sport’s biggest stage again in 2016?
“It was a goodbye to London. I was just having fun with the crowd,” the Jamaican explained. “I came here to London to become a legend, and I am a legend, and I wanted to thank them for supporting me.”
He accomplished exactly what he wanted to at the 2012 Olympics.
Three events – the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 relay – and three victories. Plenty of pre- and post-race preening.
Just like at Beijing in 2008.
As for trying to go for a Triple Triple four years from now, Bolt insisted Rio de Janeiro isn’t necessarily in the offing.
“The possibility is there, but it’s going to be very hard. I’ve done all I want to do,” said Bolt, who turns 26 on August 21. “I’ve got no more goals.”
He came up with three remarkable runs, improving his career mark to six for six in Olympic finals.
In more than a century of modern Olympics, no man had set world records while winning the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay – until Bolt did it in Beijing.
None had won the 200 metres twice, let alone completed a 100-200 double twice – until Bolt did so in 2008 and 2012.
Now, he’s added a second consecutive sprint relay title, too, pulling away down the stretch and bringing his best right through the finish line to close the track schedule last Saturday night with a world record in the relay.
“When he got the stick,” said Tyson Gay, the third leg runner on the United States team that finished second, “there was nothing we could do about it.”
Even those other athletes are among those curious about Bolt’s future. Maybe he’ll take up the long jump. Maybe the 400 (although he says that’s too much of a grind for his tastes).
“It’s very, very difficult to predict what’s going to happen in four years. For Usain, he’s just enjoying the moment and living in today,” said Sanya Richards-Ross, who won gold medals in the 400 and the 4x400 relay for the United States.
“What he’s accomplished is enough. He’s done so much for our sport, and he’s definitely a living legend.
“Whatever he decides in the future is more than icing on the cake, if he decides to come back,” she said.
“I don’t think he can do any wrong in most people’s minds.”
Count NBC, the network paying more than US$1 billion for the US TV rights to the 2016 Games, among those hoping Bolt will stick around.
“Usain Bolt is a firmly established star in a sport that receives unprecedented interest from the American audience during the Olympics and, as such, it would be great to see him in Rio,” NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said Sunday. (AP)
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