LONDON, England ● The Olympic double-double achieved and his “living legend” status in the pantheon of great sprinters now secure, Usain Bolt plans to think long and hard about just how long he can remain master of his domain.
A world that has marvelled and gushed at the Jamaican’s raw speed, world records and Olympic titles now waits to see what the fastest man on earth will do next.
It is time for reflection in the Court of Bolt. The great showman of track and field, with a passion for sports and fast cars, is not ready to hang up his spikes, but he is restless for a new challenge, one that can satisfy his great lust for life.
“I’m not going to retire yet. I love this sport. I have got all my success through this sport. I got all my fans through this sport,” Bolt said after scorching to back-to-back Games 200 metres titles on Thursday, completing the 100-200 sprint double as he had done in Beijing four years ago.
“I have made my goal, now I have to sit down and make another one.”
At 25 and with five Olympic sprint golds tucked away in a safe “with some armed men around them”, and a sixth beckoning in the relay, Bolt is searching for a new horizon to conquer, one that will give him the motivation he craves.
Time, which catches up eventually with Olympic champions and park runners alike, would still appear to be on Bolt’s side. For Bolt though, Beijing and London were “my time”.
The future, he said, was for compatriots Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, silver and bronze medallists in a Jamaican podium sweep on Thursday.
Bolt and Blake, 22, share the same coach, train together and have a strong friendship away from the track but down in the blocks they are fierce rivals.
“I said to him (Blake in 2010) ‘you came around the wrong time, these next two years are mine’. I had to show him these next two years are mine.”
Britain’s Linford Christie was 32 when he won 100 gold in 1992 in Barcelona. Bolt will be on the cusp of 30 during the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and may not be in Brazil.
“I think when I get to 30 I will be thinking about retiring. Track and field is way too hard,” he said.
“Yohan Blake is running 19.4 already, so in the next four years he’s going to be firing. I think I want to get out before he starts running too fast.
“I think it’s going to be a hard mission (in Rio). Both these guys (Blake and Weir) are 22 – I’m going to be 30, they are going to be 26. I think I’ve had my time. In life everything is possible, but for me this is going to be a hard match.”
Like great sprinters Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, Bolt has one eye on the long jump pit.
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to try,” he said.
Could his sporting future lie away from the track?
The world’s fastest man often likes to talk up his prowess as a footballer and cricketer, letting it be known again, tongue firmly in cheek, after his 100 victory that his dream was to play for Manchester United.
Bolt, in his own words is “an accomplished player”.
United manager Alex Ferguson is unlikely to dash for the telephone before the start of the Premier League season but Bolt has reached the stage in his career where anything is possible.
“I made a goal to become a legend. If I can’t find something to motivate me, then maybe football. I don’t know. Only if I am good, remember that.
“I’m definitely thinking about it. After this Olympics I don’t know, so I’ll see.”
Winter sports, however, are not on the agenda.
“I’m not going to be in the Jamaican bobsleigh team.”