Track and Field

Rio De Janeiro Olympics 2016: Iconic Usain Bolt Should Retire Before Rio

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning gold and setting a new world record of 36.84 during the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Eric BallFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2012

The final words of Usain Bolt at the Olympics say it all (via Associated Press): "I came here to London to become a legend, and I am a legend..."

The soon-to-be 26-year-old runner did exactly what he wanted in the 2012 Olympics, and now is the time to hang up the cleats. Forget Rio in 2016.

Bolt set a new Olympic record by running a 9.63 100-meter dash, then followed that up with a 19.32 in the 200, which looked to be a cake walk for the Jamaican. He let up significantly at the very end and still won rather handily. Add a third gold medal in the 4x100 relay, and Bolt had the perfect Olympic performance. Legendary indeed.

So why in the world would he put that in jeopardy four years from now in Rio?

He was rather open about his lack of work ethic in the previous four years, but at his age he could catch up in a hurry. In four more years there will be new competitors, Yohan Blake will be better (and only 26) and Bolt will have nowhere to go but down.

It can’t be emphasized enough how hard Olympians train, how much dedication it takes to get to the level of winning a gold medal. It leaves you little time to have a regular life.

Now that Bolt has six gold medals and can officially be considered the fastest man in the world for a period of eight years, it’s time to soak it all up.

Reap the benefits, like playing for an Australian cricket team as he is reportedly interested in doing, according to

I think this quote to the Associated Press really hits home regarding Bolt’s mentality at this point: "The possibility is there, but it’s going to be very hard. ... I’ve done all I want to do, I’ve got no more goals.”

There you have it. Sure, Rio would be a blast and nine gold medals are better than six, but Bolt sounds content with living the rest of his life off the track. He is a worldwide celebrity who is respected by every human-being on the planet aside from one guy who has accused him of doping.

What’s the point in risking an unblemished career? If he retires now, he’ll go down as the greatest sprinter of all time. What more do you want from him?

He already became the first man to set world records in the 100, 200 and 4x100 back in Beijing, and is now the first to ever win the 100 and 200 twice.

Good luck topping that.

Selfishly, you want to see him back for one more go-around, but don’t expect it to happen.

Rio will be Bolt-less.


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