Usain Bolt's story is of a boy who scrambled to the top of the mountain a little too early. And when he got there, he realised it was time to retrace the steps, and restart the pursuit to the mountain top: this time with new-found sang-froid... Extracts from the
Cricket, what else
My only problem with going to William Knibb was that the school didn't want me to play cricket any more, not seriously anyway. I was 11 years old, and I was hoping to go to PE lessons, pick up my pads and bat and continue with my dream of becoming a Test sensation.
The teachers had other ideas, though. They wanted me to focus on my running... I went home that night and complained, but Pops set me straight on the matter. 'Bolt, if you do well in track and field, it's on you and no one else,' he said.
'In cricket, there are other people involved. It can get tricky'. His words sunk in. I liked the idea of being in charge.
The eureka moment
I guess that (winning the 200m sprint on school sports day) was the moment of big discovery for me. I had to run the 200m in an effective style. But I'd created a mantra that would define my mental attitude towards opponents for the rest of my career. If I beat you in a big meet, you're not going to beat me again.
The truth was I saw running as a hobby rather than the main reason for my spot at William Knibb. At the age of 12, I would skip evening practice and head into nearby Falmouth with friends to play video games at the local arcade.
It was a Jamaican dollar per minute to play. To get the slot money, I would skip lunch and save the coins Mom had given me for food. Super Mario Cart and Mortal Kombat were my games, I was on them non-stop, and most evenings my hands would hurt from the joystick because I'd played for too long.
Whenever Mom or Dad wanted to know how training had gone, I'd act like I'd been running real hard - a yawn or two would usually do the trick.
A 19-year-old booed
A hamstring had snagged, and I was in some serious hurt. This time, I walked off the track in Kingston. I looked for Coach among the faces in the crowd, but as I got closer to the main stand there was a boo. Then another, and another. The noise was getting louder with every step.
'What the hell is this?' I thought, feeling sick. 'Where did this come from?' My world crashed in, I couldn't believe it was happening. I never imagined my own people, the same who cheered me on so loudly when I'd won the World Junior Championships in 2002 - would boo me… This track and field thing is tough…'
The doctor warned me it would take around 12 hours for any feeling to return to the lower half of my body, and that moment wouldn't come quick enough because not being able to feel my dick was the strangest experience in the world.
I kept staring at my watch, pinching my legs and hoping for some life to return...Oh crap, nothing in my dick. My knees were good, my thighs too? Please, God, there's nothing in my dick. Nothing….My hips. What the hell is going on with my dick?
When a flash of feeling finally came around, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Forget the car crash - a numb crotch was probably the most stressful situation I'd experienced in my entire life.
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