The fastest man in history, Usain Boltwho dominated men’s sprinting for nearly a decade, has expressed interest in reviving the sport that brought him worldwide fame.
In an interview with Reuters, the 36-year-old Jamaican sprinter revealed he has aspirations to make a significant impact on track and field, highlighting a need for charismatic personalities to inspire and bring back the sport’s glory. He disclosed he has reached out to World Athletics on multiple occasions, expressing his willingness to make a larger impact in the sport if given the opportunity. Bolt said the discussions are ongoing, but he eagerly awaits a position where he can actively contribute to the growth and development of the sport.
Bolt acknowledged that the sport experienced a slight decline after his departure. However, he sees promising signs in young athletes like US sprinter and 200m world champion Noah Lyles. “Lyles has the charisma and big personality required to engage and captivate audiences,” said Bolt to Reuters. He believes emerging personalities (like Lyles) will help fill the charisma gap, leading to a resurgence of interest in track and field.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist also reflected on the lack of popularity of the sport in the US and on the disappointing crowd turnouts at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Ore. “Sometimes it’s all about where it is, America is not the biggest track and field place,” he said. But he anticipates that the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics will be a significant moment for the sport, citing its accessibility, historical presence and talented athletes as contributing factors.
While Jamaica’s men’s team has struggled to replicate its success since Bolt’s departure, the 100m world record holder also sees a resurgence in the nation’s sprinting program in young sprinters Oblique Sevillewho finished fourth in the 100m at the 2022 World Championships last year, and Ackeem Blakewho ran a personal best of 9.89 seconds at the LA Grand Prix last weekend.
“Hopefully, these two will motivate other youngsters to step up and want to train harder and dedicate themselves,” Bolt said.