Usain Bolt’s dream of playing professional football is still alive, and Australia’s Central Coast Mariners will try to help him achieve it.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist has committed to an ‘indefinite’ training period with the Gosford-based A-League side.
There has been no guarantee of a professional contract.
Bolt will start with the Mariners later this month, but will he impress Down Under?
Two of his former sprint rivals, Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, and Bolt's fellow Jamaican Warren Weir, both told Olympic Channel he has got what it takes, following the announcement.
During his stellar athletics career, Bolt frequently spoke of his desire to play football professionally.
It turns out he was being deadly serious.
Despite only hanging up his spikes in August 2017, Bolt's football CV already stretches across three continents.
The 31-year-old previously trained with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa, and Norway’s Stromsgodset.
Bolt is a staunch Manchester United fan and the cherry on top for his new venture is working with Mike Phelan.
The former Red Devils assistant coach now works as the Mariners’ sporting director.
Olympic rivals talk up Bolt's attributes
Bolt is the greatest Olympic sprinter in history, having won eight gold medals.
The Sherwood Content native is a triple 100m and 200m champion, having won his first Olympics titles at Beijing 2008.
On the 10-year anniversary of those China Games, Bolt is still the 100m and 200m world record holder.
He is also an eleven-time world champion and a four-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.
The people who know best what Bolt is capable of are his former teammates and rivals.
Two of them told us exclusively that they think he has many of the attributes needed to succeed.
"It's good for him, I know he really enjoys his football and I know he really wants to show his skill for a top club," 200m Olympic bronze medallist and countryman Warren Weir told Olympic Channel.
"I just wish him all the best."
The man Bolt beat to gold in the 100m at Beijing 2008, *Ato Boldon, *issued a stark warning to anyone that doubts the Jamaican's footballing ambitions.
"If you want to underestimate that guy, go ahead... I did that once in 2008, I'm not going to do that again," the four-time Olympic medallist told Olympic Channel.
"If Usain Bolt wants to go and be the darts world champion, or the sailing world champion now… he’s earned the right.
"He’s still young… in his brain there’s a lot of competitive fire left, and that has to come out somewhere."
Bolt won’t ‘think limits’
The world’s fastest man is under no illusion how hard it will be to fulfill his dream.
“I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity,” Bolt told the Mariners website.
“I always say that ‘anything is possible, don't think limits’ and I look forward to the challenge.” - Usain Bolt
“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League."