Sprint legend Usain Bolt tells athletes to stay fit

In an Instagram Live session with Colin Jackson, the Jamaican great recollects the 2016 season and reveals what pushed him to end his Olympic career on a high.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt has given his advice to athletes on how to stay healthy and focused during coronavirus confinement.

Speaking to Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson in an Instagram Live session on Friday, the Jamaican superstar said: “The season is going to be a long one. So do not overdo (things). Take your time, keep fit.

“But I think, when the season starts back, athletes will be fine because it is an Olympic year (into 2021). I think every athlete is more focused when it comes to the Olympics than anything else. So I think they will be fine, focus-wise. But it is just to keep fit.

“Do not get lazy. Just stay on top of things.”

Break from the track? Not really

It’s been almost three years since the sprint king walked off the track for good. And in this time, Bolt has tried his hand at a lot of different things. A period he seems to be enjoying every bit.

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“It's like, time is just sailing along. But retirement is... I can't complain,” he said.

“I really enjoy it, especially when I go back up to the track and I see all of these athletes running. I'm like, 'yeah', I just grab a watch and go 'let's go, run'.”

Bolt revealed the joy he gets seeing others push their body while watching from the sidelines.

“The funniest part... the funniest part for me right now is when I go up to the track and Zharnel Hughes, he trains with coach (Glen) Mills and he runs for Great Britain. My funniest part is just hitting him with, ‘time's up, let's go, let's go'.

“What no athlete wants to hear, 'yes time's up, let's go, wrap it up, get to the line'. For me, it is a joy to say that. 'Yes Zharnel, time is up' and he goes 'no, I have got a minute left'. I go, 'no, that is not what my watch is saying'. It is the best time.”

Find your motivation

While the 100m world record holder seems to be enjoying the role reversal, he says there were times when he too felt like giving up.

Heading into what was his final Olympics at Rio 2016, the sprint legend was desperately hunting for motivation to help him push the limits.

Searching for something to help keep him on track, Bolt turned to one of Australia’s finest athletes, John Steffensen, who hung up his spikes in 2014 post the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“That season (in 2016) was one of the most trying seasons for me, I must say. Trying to motivate myself,” Usain Bolt said narrating the period during his talk with Jackson.

“It was rough. One of my friends, John Steffensen, I sat down and we talked for two hours about this because he had just retired. And I was like, 'John how did you do it? How did you continue doing this, even when you know I really don't want to do this.'

“And he goes, 'it was hard, but you got to make up your mind and find something to re-motivate yourself.'

Only then did Bolt finally find what he had been looking for: a video on TMZ Sports with rival American sprinter Justin Gatlin.

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“The TMZ guys were like, 'are you going to win the (Rio 2016) Olympics this year?' And he goes, 'yeah, I am going to win the Olympics, and after that, we’re going to go on a tour, with the gold medal around my neck.' And that helped me,” he said.

“That one video motivated me. 'Nah, I can't let Justin beat me. I've worked hard for these eight years.' 'And I have got to this one moment, and I am going to lose. No. This is not going to happen'.

“And, for me, that really helped me to give me that extra boost to get there. So when I actually, in the tunnel getting to the (start) line, I was talking to myself, and said 'this is the moment, this is it.”