Bolt eyes Rio record as he assesses 2020 vision

Usain Bolt aims to become the first person to run the 200m in under 19 seconds. It is his "main aim" at the Rio Games, and he says that such a historic feat "would be a game-changer".
Usain Bolt aims to become the first person to run the 200m in under 19 seconds. It is his "main aim" at the Rio Games, and he says that such a historic feat "would be a game-changer".PHOTO: REUTERS

KINGSTON (Jamaica) • Usain Bolt says he has considered the possibility of extending his remarkable sprinting career to the 2020 Olympics - but is targeting a history-making world 200m record at this year's Rio de Janeiro Games first.

The Jamaican sprint star has repeatedly said he plans to hang up his spikes after the 2017 World Championships in London, bringing the curtain down on a record-breaking career that has included six Olympic gold medals.

However, the 29-year-old told Television Jamaica in an interview aired on Sunday that his coach Glen Mills had suggested that he was capable of running in a fourth Olympics if he chose to.

"The coach says I can go on to even the next Olympics in 2020," Bolt said. "But I'm not gonna say what I'm gonna do. My coach says I should stop talking about it all the time, let's just go through these two years and see what happens."

Pressed further on the possibility of an Olympic swansong in Japan, Bolt added: "We'll see. The older you get, the harder the training gets.

"So 32, 33, 34, it's going to be a lot of work - if I feel I can do it, I'll definitely try. But for me, I want to retire on top of my game.

"I don't want to continue if I know I'm not going to push myself hard enough."

Bolt said he had taken advice from US sprint great and former Olympic 200m and 400m champion Michael Johnson as he considered his future.

"I asked Michael Johnson - I said, 'Why did you retire, when you were dominating?' He said, 'Listen, I've done everything in the sport, I was on top, why should I continue?'," Bolt revealed, adding he did not want to emulate National Basketball Association legend Michael Jordan, who returned unsuccessfully after retiring.

"He left the sport when he was great and he came back and made a small mockery of his career a little bit," Bolt said. "I don't want to put myself in the same position, with other people stepping up while I'm going backwards."

In the short term, he is determined to light up this year's Olympics in Rio, where he will be attempting to retain his 100m and 200m titles for a third straight occasion.

Bolt revealed he aims to break his own world record in the 200m, hoping to become the first man to beat 19 seconds. He set the current record of 19.19sec at the Berlin World Championships in 2009.

"If everything goes as planned, it's going to be an awesome Olympics," he said. "That's the main aim. Everyone wants me to win again, but what they really want to see is records.

"One of the big records I want is the 200. What I want is sub-19 - the first man to ever have done it, it would be a game-changer."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Bolt eyes Rio record as he assesses 2020 vision'. Print Edition | Subscribe