Even though he previously dismissed the idea of becoming a coach, Jamaica’s sprint legend Usain Bolt says he’s now contemplating the option in the near future after his experience in parenting.
Bolt, 37, retired in 2017, after winning eight Olympic gold medals and claiming 11 world titles over a 13-year professional career.
Bolt has said in the past that he wants to contribute through mentorship, and possibly a role with World Athletics. However, since retirement, he’s always ruled out becoming a coach and has focused instead on his business and music ventures.
But after becoming a father to three, Bolt, in an interview with World Athletics’ Inside Track recently, said he plans to speak with former coach Glen Mills about a similar role.
“I remember people always ask me, ‘Are you going to coach?’ ” Bolt said during the interview. “I’ve always told people I have no patience to coach. Now that I have three kids, you have to have patience. I think I’m leaning to maybe coaching one day. [It’s] something I’ve talked to my coach about, and I need to pick his brain to find out how his mind works, how I can be like him, or be as good or even better than him. So it’s something I’m thinking about now.”
Bolt also credited Mills during the interview for turning his athletic career around, as his injuries brought depression before his breakout year in 2008.
“It was rough,” he said. “I was really sad a lot of times because of how great I was as a junior and transitioning to being a professional; it wasn’t smooth. I went professional when I was about 17 and it took me three to four years to get where I wanted to be. And, because of injuries, a lot of people were saying, ‘This is it for him… He’s washed up,’ and ‘He’s not going to make it as a professional.’ It kinda got me sad and down at times, but meeting Glen Mills was a joy. He got me focused and back on track so that was good.”
Since initially breaking the 100m and 200m records in Beijing in 2008, Bolt is still the world record holder in both sprints with his times of 9.58 seconds and 19.19s set at the Berlin World Athletics Championships in 2009. Many have targeted his records, including reigning World Athletics Men’s Athlete of the Year Noah Lyles of the USA.
Bolt went on to say that the shorter sprint record may stand for a while longer, compared to the 200m.
“I think the 100m is going to be harder because it’a quicker, and if you make a mistake during the race you’re not going to get it; so it’s a lot more technical. So, I think maybe the 100 is going to go last,” he said.
While the 100m record has been the gold standard for the world’s best to reach, Bolt says Mills thinks it should have been faster.
“We’ve talked about this and I’d say, ‘It’s the perfect race,’ and he’d say, ‘No, it’s not,’ ” Bolt said with a laugh.
“He’s very technical, so he can sit down and break the race down and explain to me why it’s not. And one of the main things he said to me, and it’s true, I kept on looking around all the time. And he’s says you could have run faster if you just focused on getting to the line. It’s true, in my mind it was perfect, but in coach’s mind, it wasn’t.”
However, to still be regarded as the world’s fastest man seven years after retiring still brings joy to his heart.
“It’s a great title, I must say,” he said. “It’s a wonderful title, something that I enjoy. I’ve said it’s not the most important, it was the [medals], but it’s a great title to have. Something that I enjoy here and I enjoy now because I’m better than everybody on the planet, so it’s fine.”
“My main aim was always to dominate throughout the years and that’s what I did. Every year, every season, I was on point; I was working hard, I was dominating, so, for me, it was perfect,” he continued.
Only two athletes in history have gone below 9.7 seconds â€” former World champion Yohan Blake in 2012, and retired American sprinter Tyson Gay in 2009 have personal bests timed at 9.69s. USA’s Christian Coleman’s 9.76s, done in 2019, is the fastest 100m time recorded in 12 years.
Blake’s 19.26s set in Brussels, Belgium, in 2011 is the second-fastest 200m time in history, but Lyle’s 19.31s at the Eugene World Athletics Championships in 2022, the third-fastest time, is the fastest clocked over the distance since Bolt’s retirement.
Bolt, Lyles, Blake, former world record holder Michael Johnson, and rising American star Erriyon Knighton are the only athletes to go below 19.50s in the 200m.