| Usain Bolt during a news conference in Brussels, on Wednesday |
Brussels: Usain Bolt is considering retirement after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he said on Wednesday.
But any plan for going out to grass at the age of 30 would come after three more years of domination that might include a pop at the Commonwealth Games next year and another shot at bettering his own 200m world record.
Bolt has dominated the competitive world of sprinting since claiming three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, but hinted ahead of Friday’s season-ending Diamond League meet in Brussels that Rio would be his third and last.
“After the 2016 Olympics… that seems to be a good idea, retiring when I’m still on top of my career,” said the six-time Olympic gold medallist.
“But again, if I want to continue to dominate on the track I can’t afford an off season, that is a lesson that I have learned. This wasn’t a perfect season for me. I won but it was not in a ‘Usain Bolt fashion’.”
‘Usain Bolt fashion’ or not, the 27-year-old Jamaican still claimed a treble gold at last month’s world championships, taking his world gold medal haul to eight.
“Now, that I’m getting a bit older, I know that I have to stay injury free, maintain focus and act responsible,” he said.
Bolt added that any plan for the 2014 season, a year with no global championships, would be taken in October after he had taken some time off.
“I will prepare for the next season very well. First, I encouraged my coach Glen Mills to turn it down a bit but he convinced me that that is a bad option,” he said.
“You need to continue working hard, reduce the risk to get injured and not having to pick it up from scratch.
“So in 2014, I will be racing like I did in any other season. The Commonwealth Games? I’ve never been there before but I’ll leave it up to my coach to decide on my competition programme.”
Bolt also hinted that bettering his own world record of 19.19sec in the 200m, his favoured event, could be on the cards as well.
“The 100m world record – which he also set – is the hardest to break because it is more technical. In the 200m, if I can master the bend and stay injury free, there is room for improvement,” Bolt said.
“As I said, I will prepare well to race as fast as possible in 2014, and with no championships on my mind I can concentrate on just trying to race as fast as I can.”
Whatever he does from here on, Bolt has been a godsend for a sport mired in scandal. As he prepares to run in Brussels, Jamaica's most decorated female sprinter is being defended by a celebrity lawyer and a former Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Howard Jacobs, who defended disgraced sports stars Marion Jones, Tom Montgomery and Floyd Landis in the past, and PJ Patterson were left unimpressed as Veronica Campbell-Brown's disciplinary hearing entered a third day.
Reports in Jamaica claim vital evidence has not been provided by the Jamaican Athletics Association, provoking the ire of Campbell-Brown's team. In addition, the hearing had to change venues due to media interest.
Meanwhile, the Olympics' most infamous drug cheat, Ben Johnson, continues to do the rounds where he is attempting the difficult job of fronting an anti-doping campaign while indulging in decades-old denials.
He said that he felt he would have beaten Bolt had they been running at the same time, prompting a withering response from the Jamaican.
“Everybody says everything to get into the media and stir it up a little bit, but he could never beat me,” Bolt said. “That’s just him trying to get some attention.”