Usain ‘Lightening’ Bolt is the man of the Olympics along with Michael Phelps. On Wednesday, he completed a historic 100m and 200m double with world records in both (9.69 sec and 19.30 sec).
Just prior to the Olympics, Puma, the sports equipment company whose products Bolt endorses, caught up with the Jamaican exclusively for HT.
Excerpts from the conversation with the speed sensation who turned 22 today.
Sprint hero he looked up to growing up: Michael Johnson
Greatest sprinter of all-time: Michael Johnson
Most impressive sprint performance ever: Michael Johnson’s 200m world record (19.32 in Atlanta 1996. Bolt broke this record on Wednesday).
Favourite other sport: Basketball. Boston Celtics are my favourite team. I usually play on Sundays with my friends – we go down to the courts and play for a while and have fun shooting hoops and messing around.
First sport watched: Being Jamaican, I was brought up watching cricket. I actually started playing cricket in the street with my brother when I was young, but then when I was nine I started to get involved in athletics and from that point it was all I wanted to do. Athletics became everything to me.
Typical breakfast , lunch and dinner while training: Breakfast - Dumplings, yams and cooked green bananas.
Lunch - nothing special - it varies
Dinner - Rice and chicken/ pork/ beef etc.
Favourite guilty pleasure dish: Fried chicken.
His methods of relaxation: I play on my Playstation or watch TV at home, or if I want to go out I play soccer on the beach with some friends.
His motivation: I get my motivation when I think about my parents, particularly my mother. They took care of me when I was a child, and now I want to take care of them and keep them smiling and make them proud of me.
On the public’s doping suspicion against sprinters: It does not affect me, I try to focus on my own running and lead by example.
The first time he realized he could run fast: I started to run when I was nine, and realised pretty much straight away that I was pretty quick. Then, during the World Junior Championship in 2002 when I competed against the best athletes of may age from across the world, I knew that I could perform at the very top level if I really wanted to be the best and became completely dedicated to training.
The frequency and duration of his training: Five times per week on track, three times in the gym — it will stay the same except when I am racing. My average sessions last around 2 ½ hours.
On his weaknesses: I need to improve the first five or six steps in the race, the period when I get out of the blocks. My coach is very good though and I have always been a quick learner so I am not worried.
The effect of his height (6 ‘5’) on his running: It may be a disadvantage at the start but an advantage when I get into my running as I have a long stride that covers the ground well.
The top ten songs on his MP3 player: I like Jamaican Dancehall music — Elephant Man, Serani, Vybz Kartel, Assassin, Black Rhino, Beenie Man.
Whether there are songs he listens to pre-race: My coach does not like me listening to music before a competition.
Jamaican heroes: Herb McKenley, Don Quarrie (Jamaican track greats of yesteryear).
Plans for 2012: I hope to be at my peak in 2012, I will only be 25 years old.
What fires him up: Nothing — I am always cool!