USAIN Bolt has confirmed that he plans to retire from athletics after the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil – but he also offered the strongest hint yet that he will be coming to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games next year.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday ahead of Friday’s Diamond League meeting, the fastest man in history over 100 and 200 metres said he was determined to keep performing at the highest level for another three years.
Asked if he had any retirement plans in mind, Bolt said: “So far it’s after the Olympics in Rio. If I’m in great shape and I go there and do what I have to do, I think it would be a good time to retire on top and having dominated for so long.”
Having garnered eight World Championship gold medals, as well as six from the Olympics, Bolt is determined to join the pantheon of “sporting greats” such as boxing legend Muhammad Ali and football superstar Pele – which may mean competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
“I’ve made up my mind that if I want to be among the greats of Ali, Pele and all these guys I have to continue dominating until I retire,” the Jamaican said.
Asked directly whether he would compete in Glasgow, he said: “We have to discuss that and see what my coach says. I have never been to the Commonwealths and so it is always good to add to your collection of gold medals. But the coach decides if it is necessary to go and we will see.”
At 27, Bolt has the experience to know that a lax season midway between Olympics can hurt him. In 2010, a soft entry into the year and subsequent injury cost him almost a full season.
“I will not make that mistake again,” Bolt said, ahead of his final race this season in the 100m at Friday’s Ivo Van Damme Memorial meeting. “I’m really focused on getting every season correct, trying not to get injured, and just continue dominating so at the end of my career people will put me among the greats.”
He acknowledges his 100m record of 9.58 seconds will be tough to better, but hopes to improve on the 19.19 he ran in the 200m in Berlin four years ago. “I have mastered the art of running the turn,” Bolt said. “So if I can stay injury free and be in good shape, it is possible for me to go after the world record.”