Usain Bolt figures his world record is safe for now. But that Olympic gold medal well, it has to go to somebody else this summer.
The 34-year-old Bolt, retired since 2017, will watch from the comfort of his home in Jamaica as someone other than him captures the title in the 100 m and later the 200 m for the first time since 2004.
One of Bolt’s favorites in the 100 at the rescheduled Tokyo Games will be Trayvon Bromell, who won the event last weekend at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
“The fact I get to watch, it’s wonderful and it’s a breath of fresh air for me,” Bolt told The Associated Press on Thursday.
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“But I’m competitive. And just to see somebody going out there and winning the 100 meters without me is going to be weird. But I’m excited to watch.”
He likes Bromell for his speed and his story. Bromell was an up-and-comer who finished tied for third at the 2015 world championships in a race Bolt won when he passed Justin Gatlin at the line for a .01-second victory. But Bromell dealt with persistent Achilles-heel issues following the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games that kept him on the sideline for chunks of time. He has since reemerged and once again demonstrates blazing speed.
“Bromell is showing great promise,” said Bolt, who shares an agent with Bromell.
“I must say, it’s something I’m looking forward to. He’s been a talent over the years and proven himself to be good. But he’s had some bad injuries. He’s showing up this season. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Olympics.”
As for the 100 record of 9.58 seconds set at the 2009 world championships, Bolt doesn’t see anyone breaking that. Not this season, anyway.
Possibly down the road.
“But let’s see what happens next,” Bolt said.
“I’m keeping my eyes on Bromell because I know the times and seen the work. I’m keeping my eyes on next year and the years to come.”
Bolt stays plenty busy at home in Kingston. He and his partner, Kasi Bennett, recently had twins they named Saint Leo and Thunder. They also have a daughter named Olympia Lightning.
About that name Thunder: “I just wanted to make a statement- Thunder Bolt. He’s going to love it when he grows up. That’s a good name.”
Perhaps a powerful track name, too just like Usain Bolt.
The charismatic Bolt has eight Olympic gold medals on his resume. (A ninth, in the 2008 4×100 relay, was stripped because of a doping case involving a teammate). Bolt had a signature pose after wins, too, and broke numerous records, including the 200 (19.19), which he also set in 2009.
Nowadays, instead of breaking records, he’s making them as part of his music label. The sprinter, who years ago cofounded a Jamaican restaurant-night club called Tracks & Records, focuses on reggae but he envisions branching into the hip-hop realm at some point.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Bolt said of his burgeoning music career.
“I’m spending time in Jamaica to really pursue it and really put some energy behind it. That’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
Although he enjoys the more easygoing pace of his new life, he does miss the world track stage and consistently putting on a memorable show. But one thing always snaps him back to reality the workouts.
“When I go to the track and start training, I don’t miss it that much,” Bolt cracked.
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