Not only is Bolt the fastest man in the world, he’s been so for nearly 10 years. He’s won gold in the 100, 200, and 400 relay three Olympics running—2008 Beijing, 2012 London, and 2016 Rio—along with 11 World Championship titles, and has held the world records in the 100 and 200 since 2009. Standing a towering (for sprinters) 6’5”, Bolt is an unprecedented sprinter doing unprecedented things.
He’s as expressive off the track as he is on it, but with a laid-back air one might not expect from The Fastest Man in the World. We spoke to him about training methods, why there aren’t more tall sprinters, and if he’s really ruling out Tokyo in 2020.
Has it reached the point, do the Olympics to you feel part of your routine now? Every four years, here it is?
For me, I always try to take it a year at a time. That’s what my coach tells me to look at in my career. Never try to look way ahead because then you start overlooking things or not taking things too seriously. You know what I mean? He says take it a year at a time. Work. Work on that. Don’t think about Olympics before it comes because you have to go to the World Championships. Because we are trying to build a legacy every year.
Watching your races, a race that lasts less than 10 seconds, yours seems to have parts to it. You can get out a little slow and you still catch up. Does it feel like a lot of time?
[Laughs.] No. It’s just how I am, it’s just how I run. It’s just how I’ve run over the years. I’ve always started off really slow because I’m bad at my start. But every now and then I get a good one, you know what I mean? But majority of the time I’m always in the back—at the start.
Do you feel like you would be faster if someone was pushing you?
I think every season they kind of keep me on my toes because most of the season I’m injured. I have to work to come back but I think these guys are doing a good job. I think the first couple years it as much much easier because I was younger, I wasn’t getting as injured. But now down in my latter years, it kind of got harder because I started getting injured and I had to work hard to get back.
Have you changed up your training regimen because of that?
No my coach always says never change. Never change what’s not broken. You might have a few things, but we never try to change the routine.
What’s one part of your routine that you really don’t like?
Background training, when we just start back. It feels like you’ve never done track in your entire life. After like a month off, you start back, you feel like you’re just starting track again. For the first three weeks, you’re just dying. It’s always just pain. So for me that’s the one part I really dislike.
After the way 2016 went, would you rule out 2020?
Definitely. No man, I can’t go. This year I kind of struggled for motivation. Because I’ve done everything and I asked myself one time in the season “Why am I doing this?” That’s the first time I’ve ever asked myself that because I love the sport and it’s horrible, one day I was in training and it was tough. And after I finished training, I asked myself “Why I doing this? I’ve done it.” For me, when I kind of woke up. I couldn’t believe I actually questioned myself like that. So I knew, this is it. I need to really stop if I’m reaching to the stage where I’m questioning myself if I really need this.
Have you reached all your goals?
Yeah, pretty much. The only thing that I wanted to do, which I knew would be hard anyway, was to run sub-19. That’s the only thing I haven’t accomplished. But it’s not like I don’t have the world record so it doesn’t really bother me that much.