Did Bolt quit prematurely?


Did Bolt quit prematurely?

Former Coach Mills: 'It was not I who told him to retire'

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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USAIN Bolt's return to competitive track and field could be closer than ever after his former coach, Glen Mills gave an indication that the double sprint world record holder might have walked away from the sport prematurely.

Bolt ignited a storm of anticipation on Thursday when he told an American magazine in a virtual interview he would return to the track, but only if Mills gave him a call.

The 33-year-old Bolt limped away from the sport three years ago, hobbling off the track at London Stadium after he pulled up on the anchor leg of the men's 4x100m final at the World Athletics World Championships. And his departure left a gap in Jamaica's men's sprinting on the global level.

In the interview with Variety magazine on Thursday for a series called Greatness Code, and in which he was featured among a number of others who had left a big impression on their sport, Bolt said: “The only person that I told was my coach. And if he came back and told me 'Listen, let's do this,' I will, because I believe so much in my coach so I know if he says we are going to do this then I know it's possible. So, give Glen Mills a call and I will be back.”

In a typically terse response to questions posed by the Jamaica Observer on Friday, Mills said: “It was not I who told him to retire.”

Bolt, who holds the world records in the 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19 seconds), both set at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, in 2009, said while he did not miss the training, he missed the fans.

When asked if he missed the competition Bolt replied: “No, I miss the crowd. When I watch football and hear the cheers I miss that, not the training.”

The only man to win three straight sprint doubles at the Olympic Games — Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 — said he does not visit the Racers training ground at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus too often.

“I stay away from the track [as] my coach gets too excited when I come to the track, so I stay away from the track,” said the new father of daughter Olympia Lightning.

In the decade between 2007 and 2017 Jamaican men won 23 medals — 13 gold by Bolt alone at the World Championships and Olympic Games — but managed only a fifth place by Yohan Blake in the World Championships 100m final in Doha, Qatar, last year.

Bolt refused to get into naming anyone who he thought would be the next super star, admitting he did not have any luck in predictions.

“I just watch; I have bad luck in choosing people. I just observe and appreciate the talent and hope my records never go,” he said.

— Paul Reid

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