16TH IAAF World Championship: Bolt Poise to be All-time Best


Today, the world 100m and 200m world record-holder, Usain Bolt, plans on proving it once and for all before leaving a sport he has dominated like no other athlete for almost a decade.

And he hopes to bow out just as he began as a schoolboy after unveiling his special purple and gold shoes for his 100m swansong at the World Championships in the London Stadium.

“Purple were my school colours in Jamaica,” said Bolt, 31 later this month, in a cavernous room at The Brewery near the Barbican centre. “That’s where it started, so it’s the right way to end- the gold because I am the golden boy.

“I hope my records are not broken. No athlete would wish their world records broken in their lifetime. I want to grab my kids when they are 15 or 20 and say, ‘see, I am still the best’.

“I never knew I would go on to become a multiple champion at the Olympics. All I ever wanted to do was win the 200m and be the world record-holder.

 “There are no words to explain what I have done throughout my career. I am really proud of my achievements.

“It is going to be hard after I finish as track and field has been everything for me. I have done it since I was 10. Maybe football will be a different rush. Or I might go into acting and do some action movies, you never know.”

Bolt plans on winning his 12th world championship gold today in the 100m before anchoring Jamaica’s relay squad to the title a week later. Then he is off to play football with his pals.

The eight-time Olympic champion knows that rivals, like Canada’s Andre de Grasse, can sniff blood, reckoning his battered body may have gone a championship too far.

Bolt has only broken 10-seconds once this season, when winning in Monaco last time out. It is clear in his mind, though, that there will only be one winner.

This appearance from the ultimate showman was due to be at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium with both sharing the same sponsor, Puma.

Maybe it was the thought of being seen at the home of one of his beloved Manchester United’s main rivals that prompted the move to the city.

“I’m still waiting for the call from (Jose) Mourinho,” joked Bolt. “But we haven’t reached transfer deadline day yet.”

If, as the organisers said, The Brewery venue offered more space it was still jam-packed with rows of camera crews, photographers and journalists from Guatemala to Tokyo, Kingston to Beijing.

Puma had put the boat out for this farewell shindig, compered by Britain’s double world 110m hurdles champion Colin Jackson.

There were video messages from the likes of fellow Jamaican athlete Asafa Powell, footballer Thierry Henry, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and model Cara Delevingne and actors Idris Elba and Samuel L Jackson.

 “I’m the underdog so I keep reading and people keep telling me, so I have got to prove myself once more,” said Bolt, whose 100m and 200m world records are now eight years old.

“I am still the fastest man in the world. You guys know if I am here then I am fully confident and ready to go 100 percent.

“The last race I won in 9.95secs so it shows I am going in the right direction. Having two rounds before the final always helps me.

“It’s a championship, so it’s all about who can keep their nerves. I am ready to go, it’s time, so let’s go.”

Asked by his local paper in Jamaica if he would reconsider his retirement plans if he was beaten on Saturday, Bolt said: “It’s not going to happen so we won’t have the problem.

“But I am looking forward to watching the next 100m race in a championships without me. I don’t know where I’ll be, but I’ll have a bet on it as there will be no pressure on me.”

A tribute to how much Bolt has transcended his own sport into the world of entertainment.

“Damn brother, sad to see you go,” said Jackson. “Thanks for the thrills and being the dope-ass motherf****** you’ve always been.”

And it did end as it began for Bolt with his parents Wellesley and Jennifer coming on to present their son with his special edition shoes.

“It is so exciting really, you just want to cry. It’s just a funny feeling but there is joy and it’s overwhelming,” said the proud mum of what it is like watching Bolt in action.

And then there was time for the inevitable trademark ‘Lightning’ Bolt stance. Cue an explosion of purple and gold ribbons.