Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Usain Bolt busts the myths

usain-bolt.jpg
615x330-bolt.png
615x330-bolt2.png
615x330-bolt1.png

We think we know a lot about Usain Bolt. Science tells us he can run at 27mph, unleash 2,619.5 watts of power and produce 81.58 kilojoules of kinetic energy in a 100m sprint – that’s 50 times more than a bullet leaving a Magnum handgun. Sports fans know he has six Olympic gold medals and eight world titles, business experts have calculated he earns $24m a year, and broadcasters know his 100m victory at London 2012 attracted two billion viewers. But with fame and success come strange legends, wild stories and tabloid rumours which are harder to verify. So how much do we really know?

Here, fresh from his triumphs in Moscow, the man himself tells us what he thinks about the stories that have shaped his public image.

RUMOUR 1: He’s secretly training for both the long jump and 400m at Rio 2016

Verdict: False!

“After last season I sat down with my coach [Glen Mills] and we discussed what to do. We always thought this season would be the chance to try something new, like the long jump. But he said that my back is really bad. And he said: ‘You’re tall, so you’ll probably get knee problems because of all the hammering down.’ So we decided to not do the long jump. He talked about trying the 400m but I said, ‘Coach, don’t even go there.’ No way was I going to run all the way around the track. So we decided to concentrate on sprinting and continue dominating.”

RUMOUR 2: He eats nothing but cookies, KFC and chicken nuggets

Verdict: False! Sort of.

“Not so much now because I have a chef. We call him ‘Dougs’ – although his right name is Keron. Coach tells him what to cook. I have nothing to do with it. I can’t tell him, ‘I need pizza now’ because coach will say: ‘He needs to get this. Don’t give him that.’ So no matter what I say, it won’t help. Coach is not going to be too happy if I try to fire my chef. So I just go along with it pretty much. It is true that in Beijing I probably ate about 1,000 chicken nuggets. But I did have good stuff, too. I remember sitting at the table with one sandwich and two boxes of chicken nuggets and dipping them in barbecue sauce. [Jamaican hurdler] Brigitte Foster-Hylton said: ‘Yo, you need to eat some vegetables!’ I said, ‘Nah, it’s not going to happen.’ So she went off and brought me a salad. I said, ‘I’m not going to eat that.’ So she said, ‘Try a dressing.’ I think it was a ranch dressing – you know, the orange one? When I poured that on to my salad it was perfect.”

RUMOUR 3: He genuinely thinks he could play football for Manchester United and cricket for the West Indies

Verdict: True!

“Yes! I am definitely open to the possibility. I would like to play as a striker. But Robin van Persie is working out, isn’t he? If I get the chance to play cricket for a big team it would be something fun, too. The Australian guys [in the T20 Big Bash League] have said if I am there and I want to do it, they will make it happen. When I started running fast as a kid it helped my cricket. Running definitely got me out of trouble and it gave me quick bowling too, so it worked out well. I’m a pretty fast bowler.”

RUMOUR 4: He regularly competes in dance battles in Kingston nightclubs

Verdict: False! At least these days…

“I’m not into those dance battles now. We used to have crazy ones in Quad [a Kingston nightclub]. When you are younger it’s always fun, but then you start noticing girls and girls start noticing you and it is just not cool doing a dance in a club, sweating and going absolutely crazy. So now I’m just standing there, looking cool in my nice shirt, and watching. I may dance with the girls but it is more that I let them dance. The older you get, the more you go, ‘Hmm, no. I’m cool just standing here.’”

RUMOUR 5: He became so obsessed with Spanish girls that he started learning the language

Verdict: True!

“Spanish women are wonderful. Really wonderful. So I tried to learn Spanish. One day I bought a Rosetta Stone computer program thing. I made the effort. But I think I didn’t upload it very well because all the talk was in Spanish. It just kept on talking in Spanish, so I was like, ‘You have got to tell me the English too!’ At least I can say some stuff in Spanish now – I just don’t know what I’m saying.”

RUMOUR 6: He really did almost die in that car crash

Verdict: True!

“It was terrifying. I was driving my BMW M3 [in 2009] and it was a Champions League day so I wanted to watch Manchester United against Bayern Munich or somebody. I had been in the countryside and I had an hour to get to Kingston to watch the game. And suddenly, out of nowhere, it was just, whoosh, raining real hard. So I slowed down. But while driving along I think I accidentally turned the traction off because there is no way a BMW could spin off. I felt the car wobble a little bit and I thought: ‘That’s not normal.’ I remember the back just started spinning around and the car started sliding backwards off the road. I was thinking, ‘Please don’t flip.’ And then it flipped. I put my hand on the roof and it was so scary. When I realised I was OK, my first instinct was to help the other people in the car. When I look back now, I am just so p*ssed that I broke my car.”

RUMOUR 7: He has a new celebration lined up to replace the ‘Lightning Bolt’

Verdict: True!

“I have been thinking quite far ahead, I know, but how cool would it be to win the 100m gold in Rio, grab a girl and just start samba dancing? How cool would that be? Seriously, man. To dance samba. With a girl. In Brazil. It would be awesome. I’m going to learn and have already worked this one out. It would be such a cool thing to do. The crowd would go crazy.”

Faster Than Lightning: My Autobiography by Usain Bolt is out now, published by HarperSport (£20)

(Image: Rex Features)

Related

jenson-button.jpg

8 steps to f1 fitness

alistaircookhero.jpg

Alistair Cook

james-hunt.jpg

James Hunt

Comments

More

BT Sport is about to start showing live games of FIFA 17

Would you tune in to watch the FIFA pros?

by Alex Finnis
23 Feb 2017

Morrisons want Sutton's Wayne Shaw as an official pie-taster

This was inevitable

by Alex Finnis
21 Feb 2017

Sutton United's Wayne Shaw resigns over pie-eating betrayal of footbal

Is nothing pure?

by Sam Diss
21 Feb 2017

The original green Power Ranger wants to fight CM Punk

Would watch

21 Feb 2017

Arsenal have a tiny dressing room at Sutton away

by Alex Finnis
20 Feb 2017

Liverpool FC ban The Sun journalists from Anfield

A full Sun shun

by Gary Ogden
10 Feb 2017

Five football club badges reimagined for the corporate era

Embrace the prawn sandwiches guys, embrace them

26 Jan 2017

Usain Bolt loses Olympic Gold after teammate's doping conviction

The sprinter's 'triple treble' is no more

25 Jan 2017

How Eric Cantona's kung-fu kick changed my life

22 years to the day, one writer muses over that infamous night at Selhurst Park

by Dave Fawbert
24 Jan 2017

Senegal goalkeeper pulls the most ridiculous time-wasting trick ever

That's one way to kill a few seconds

by Dave Fawbert
24 Jan 2017