HTLS 2021 — I got to be a dad for some time: Usain Bolt recalls lockdown

HTLS 2021 — I got to be a dad for some time: Usain Bolt recalls lockdown
© Provided by Hindustan Times Usain Bolt is widely considered the greatest track and field athlete to have set foot on this planet, and completed a hat-trick of the 100m-200m sprint double victories at the Olympic Games. (Sports Illustrated via Getty Ima)

New Delhi: How did Usain Bolt, a man always on the move, handle being stuck in one place when the pandemic first began last year?

“Just like everybody else, I was home,” Bolt said, speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, where he was in conversation with senior sports journalist Ayaz Memon. “But I was kinda happy, because I got a lot of time with my daughter. She came three months into the pandemic and I got to be a dad for some time. But I could see how rough it was for a lot of people and I realized it will last a lot of time, so I put my head down and tried to figure out ways to go through the tough times.”

And so the fastest man on the planet, the man with eight Olympic gold medals and eleven world titles and the 100m and 200m men’s world records — marks that are so astonishing that it may be decades before anyone challenges them — did what a lot of people have done to cope. He binged on TV shows, played video games and dominoes (“If I could play dominoes every day, I will do it,” he said) and he made music. One thing he tried to keep away from though, is social media.

On being asked about the way more and more athletes have spoken out about mental health issues, Bolt said his one advice would be to “stay away from social media.”

“I understand it, I’ve seen what they’ve been through,” Bolt said. “I went through tough times when I was younger but it wasn’t as hard because social media had not developed like it is now. Social media plays such a big role in putting that pressure — even now, I don’t look at comments — I was lucky when I was young that it wasn’t there like it is now.”

The man who once made track the most dramatic sport you could watch is now a father of three — his long-time girlfriend Kasi Bennett gave birth to twin sons in June, a year after their first child, Olympia — and doesn’t follow athletics all that much.

“I see a few races, and I try to see who is running fast,” Bolt said. “But when the pandemic goes I want to go to the stadiums and just watch which is not something I’ve had the opportunity to do before.”

That’s because most of his life, if he was in the stadium, he was running, not watching, even though he did not grow up with ambitions to be a sprinter. He wanted to play cricket, or football.

“I was a massive fan of cricket because my dad was a massive fan and he watched it every day and I loved football because the ‘Reggae Boy’s were doing well,” Bolt said. “I was proper good at both batting and bowling, I was an all-rounder but bowling was my strength. But one day I was running in to bowl fast and my cricket coach said, you should just run…”

Soon, Bolt was racing to the finish line ahead of everyone else at the junior world championships, in front of his home crowd in Jamaica.

“I was so nervous I put the wrong shoe on the wrong foot…and I still won,” Bolt said.

But the early success also brought with it early pressure.

“Because I started (winning) when I was so young, everybody was looking at me getting into the senior level and doing big things,” Bolt said. “But it took me a long time to figure it out. People were saying ‘oh he was good as a junior but he won’t make it at the senior level’. But I focused on me, I said I won’t listen to the world but I’ll work on myself.”

And then there was no stopping Bolt, nothing to stop him from burning tracks to cinder with his speed, from winning 100m and 200m sprints, usually decided by fractions of a millimeter, by barely believable margins which left yawning gaps between him and the rest of the field. Widely considered the greatest track and field athlete to have set foot on this planet, the Jamaican completed a hat-trick of the 100m-200m sprint double victories at the Olympic Games, a feat for the ages. He set the world records in these events multiple times, finally settling for the two numbers that define him, and the world of track: the 100m in 9.58s, the 200m in 19.19.

But even being the greatest athlete in the world did not insulate him from racism. When asked about the anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movements that has brought together many sportspeople from around the world in solidarity, Bolt said that he too faced racist behaviour.

“Definitely yes, but it was not massive for me and I’ve tried to ignore the smaller ones,” he said. “I think it’s very important to speak out. Sports is the biggest thing around the world, and it has a massive impact. I definitely think we should speak out because we can have such a big impact. We should all speak out.”

Bolt tried, briefly to make a career out of football after hanging up his sprinting spikes in 2017. Would he consider cricket again? The IPL auctions are coming up.

“Definitely,” he joked. “I’ll get my training on, get fit and get ready!”

Sign on to read the HT ePaper

News Related


Gov. Hochul tells Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg ‘safety and justice must go hand-in-hand' at sit-down

Gov. Kathy Hochul reiterated to Alvin Bragg that safety is the utmost importance in NYC. Bloomberg via Getty Images Gov. Kathy Hochul said she laid down the law to embattled ... Read more »

Former QB Josh McCown the favorite to be next Texans head coach?

© Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal, Delaware News Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC As a backup signal-caller, Josh McCown built a reputation for being an extra coach throughout the ... Read more »

Dusan Vlahovic breaks his silence after snubbing Arsenal transfer with Juventus move

Dusan Vlahovic has spoken for the first time since rejecting interest from Arsenal and remaining in Serie A with Juventus. The Serbian international was touted with a switch to the ... Read more »

Here is Spotify's COVID content policy that lets Joe Rogan slide

© Image: Joe Rogan Spotify employees are vocally upset inside the company over the streaming platform’s deal with Joe Rogan due to his views on COVID vaccines, but their executive ... Read more »

Addison Rae wants to prove she's 'not limited to one thing'

© Bang Showbiz Addison Rae wants to prove her versatility Addison Rae is determined to prove she’s not “limited to one thing”. The 21-year-old star shot to fame on TikTok, ... Read more »

Halle Berry has 'commitment ceremony' with longtime partner Van Hunt

Halle Berry has revealed she has had a commitment ceremony with her longtime partner Van Hunt, 51, according to a new interview. The 55 year old Hollywood actress, who just ... Read more »

'Queen's Gambit' defamation lawsuit against Netflix can move forward, judge says

Nora Gaprindashvili alleges a line in the series finale referring to her real-life success was “manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling," the lawsuit states. Read more »

Conventional, new eco engines are firing pvt sector, says Birla

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The coming decade will see an upsurge in capital expenditure across many sectors, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said in ... Read more »

Shriram City PAT up 5% to Rs 293 crore; Q3 witnesses best ever disbursements

© Provided by The Financial Express Total income stood at Rs 1,702 crore as against Rs 1,439 crore in the year-ago period, logging an increase of 18%. Shriram City Union ... Read more »

Bad bank takes off, to get Rs 50,000cr of NPAs in FY22

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: State Bank of India chairman Dinesh Khara on Friday said that the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) — the bad bank proposed ... Read more »

2021 was the worst salmon fishing year ever recorded in Norway

The national salmon fishing statistics show that a record low of 289 tonnes of salmon was fished in Norwegian rivers last year – the Norwegian Environment Agency is concerned. The ... Read more »

Axis Bank Rating ‘Buy'; Firm's initiatives yielded gains in Q3

Axis Bank’s (Axis) Q3FY22 PAT of Rs 36 bn surpassed estimates on lower credit cost and better revenue traction. That said, higher opex (sustained investments) restricted core-profitability. However, asset quality ... Read more »

Goldman Sachs lifts CEO Solomon's pay to $35 million

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer David Solomon will get a 27% raise in annual pay, bringing his total compensation for 2021 to $35 million, the bank said on ... Read more »

New affordable homes coming to Kelowna to tackle housing crisis

Affordable rental housing is coming to Kelowna in an effort to curb the ongoing housing crisis — with the sod-turning ceremony for the project taking place Friday. © Province of ... Read more »

RBI warns public on KYC frauds

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked members of the public not to respond to offers for getting their KYC (know-your-customer) ... Read more »

NY Comptroller DiNapoli, who controls $270B pension, warns Amazon over ‘anti-union' behavior

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says he’s reminding Amazon that it must allow employees to consider forming a union. AP The manager of New York’s $270 billion pension fund ... Read more »

How to solve The Sea's Legend request in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by Dot Esports Some of the requests in Pokémon Legends: Arceus build on lore that’s been teased in previous games. Professor Laventon saw a Pokémon in the ocean ... Read more »

Can Alpha Pokémon respawn in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

© Provided by GamePur You’ll find that the Alpha Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus are some of the toughest Pokémon you can encounter in the game. These are giant versions ... Read more »

What are Wardens in Pokémon Legends Arceus?

© Provided by GamePur Wardens are a new breed of NPC story characters made specifically for Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Wardens are special Pokemon Trainers tasked with watching over Noble Pokemon ... Read more »

How to win with Reyna in Valorant – tips and strategies

© Provided by GamePur Coming from the heart of Mexico, Reyna is a dualist who relies purely on individual skill and confidence. While other dualists provide some utility for the ... Read more »

Bruins' Hall says he should have fought after hit on Avalanche's MacKinnon

Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall has a regret about the hit that laid out Colorado Avalanche superstar centre Nathan MacKinnon on Wednesday night. © Provided by Sportsnet Taylor Hall “Looking ... Read more »

Eric Adams tells NYC he won't forget to shovel snow after previous mayors' blunders

Mayor Eric Adams promises he will be shoveling snow outside his Brooklyn property early on Saturday. Getty Images Start shoveling, Eric! There’s nothing mayors in New York City fear more ... Read more »

Facebook Messenger fans urged to change setting NOW to protect themselves from snoopers

MESSENGER on Thursday began rolling out encrypted group chats and calls in Messenger to everyone. The controversial move means that users across the globe can now choose to scramble their ... Read more »

My boyfriend broke up with me after I sent him a snap of my unshaven legs, he said it was ‘gross'

MANY women don't shave their body hair, and it is totally up to them to decide whether they want to or not. One woman who decided not to shave for ... Read more »

Hard-up Brits face £1,900 energy bills after price cap change means costs could skyrocket by almost HALF

ENERGY bills are set to skyrocket by almost half to £1,900 as the price cap is increased. The steep rise comes as global gas prices have surged dramatically, with ministers ... Read more »

Great Scot! As tech turmoil wipes 33% off Scottish Mortgage, is now a good time to buy... or run for the hills?

The latest bout of global market turmoil is turning the focus on Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. Despite its solid-sounding name, the popular investment trust is brimful with high-risk tech stocks.  ... Read more »

Home Secretary approves extradition of Autonomy founder to US

Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the extradition of a British technology tycoon to the United States to answer criminal fraud charges. It comes after Dr Mike Lynch on Friday ... Read more »

Boris Johnson to visit region amid rising Russia-Ukraine tensions

Boris Johnson will “ramp up deterrence to avoid bloodshed” between Russia and Ukraine with a visit to the region in the coming days amid rising tensions, it is understood. The ... Read more »

Six casualties after fire breaks out at house in Wishaw

© PA Archive (Jane Barlow/PA) – PA Archive Six casualties have been reported after a fire broke out at a house in Wishaw North Lanarkshire. The alarm was raised just ... Read more »

Willow Biden joins long and varied line of White House pets

NEW YORK (AP) — Welcome, Willow, to a long line of presidential pets. © Provided by The Canadian Press President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have added a ... Read more »

Liz Truss to risk trade war with EU by letting Belfast blow up Brexit border deal

LIZ Truss is set to risk a trade war with the EU by letting Belfast blow up the Brexit border deal. The Foreign Secretary, with one eye on the Tory ... Read more »

Does Captain Hindsight Keir Starmer want cops involved over Downing Street parties or not?

Parties fiasco DOES Captain Hindsight want cops involved over Downing Street parties or not? The hypocrisies and contradictions of bungling Keir Starmer and other Remainer ­politicians desperate to topple Boris ... Read more »

National Insurance hike is unnecessary – Boris could avoid tax rise if he did these eight cost-savings to fix the NHS

WHY is it that every time a public service comes under pressure, politicians always want to dip further into our pockets? We all know that staff in the NHS performed ... Read more »

Holly Willoughby branded ‘greedy' by fans for selling £450 necklace on her Wylde Moon site

HOLLY Willoughby has been branded “greedy” by fans after she showed off a £450 necklace for sale on her Wylde Moon website. The 40-year-old took to Instagram to promote a ... Read more »

Chiefs floated as potential offseason landing spot for Odell Beckham

Where will Odell Beckham Jr. land after he becomes a free agent in the offseason? That remains to be seen, but the Rams receiver, who’s played a crucial role in ... Read more »

Kid Rock says he won't perform at venues that require vaccines or masks

The musician, whose new single "We The People" was released Monday, made the comments after tickets went on sale for his Bad Reputation Tour. Read more »

Nuh: Locals, farmers protest at construction site

© Provided by The Indian Express A group of over 150 locals and farmers from 9 villages in Nuh staged a protest at a construction site owned by a foreign ... Read more »

Fast and Furious 10: Jason Momoa to join Vin Diesel in upcoming movie, reportedly will play a villain

© Provided by Pinkvilla   Jason Momoa is confirmed to join Vin Diesel and the rest of the star-studded ensemble cast in Fast & Furious 10 as a working title. ... Read more »

Der SCB in Davos ohne Headcoach und ohne Punkte

Die Berner holen zwar ein 0:2 und ein 1:3 auf, verlieren aber 3:4. Johan Lundskog fehlt wegen eines positiven Corona-Tests. © Foto: Gian Ehrenzeller (Keystone) In ungewohnter Rolle: Für einmal ist ... Read more »

Die eigentümlichen Essgewohnheiten von Queen Elizabeth II.

Die Queen steht nicht selber am Herd – das sollte klar sein. Doch was bestellt die englische Monarchin bei ihren Köchen? Wir haben einige ziemlich einzigartige kulinarische Vorlieben der englischen ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic