Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt poses after a news conference during his visit to the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, yesterday.
ZURICH: Usain Bolt is not worried about tarnishing his career by failing to retain his 100 and 200 metres Olympic titles in Rio de Janeiro in three years’ time.
“In life you don’t always get what you want,” the Jamaican told reporters after visiting FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the headquarters of football’s world governing body.
“It wouldn’t be the greatest moment, but I would understand because I’ve had my time, I’ve been dominant for a long time.”
“So, if I get to Rio and it doesn’t happen, I would have to understand because I’m getting older and there are greater athletes coming up,” added Bolt who turned 27 a week ago.
“I know the athletes have to work harder to step their game up, and be the best. For me, I’ll be happy for the sport because it would mean its stepping up and moving on.”
Earlier, Bolt, who will compete in the Zurich Diamond League meeting today, was handed a ticket for the 2014 World Cup final by Blatter along with a furry toy depicting the tournament mascot, a grinning blue and yellow armadillo named Fuleco.
“To go to Rio and win again would be a feat in itself, because it would be the first time anybody has ever won three times in a row so that would also add to my greatness,” he said.
“As an athlete you are always pushing the limit and for me I want to continue pushing the barrier,” added Bolt, who won the 100 and 200 metres double at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and will be approaching his 30th birthday in Rio in 2016.
“At the end of the day I want to be remembered among the greatest athletes, Pele, (Diego) Maradona, Michael Johnson.”
Bolt also commented on a suggestion that he could take up a sports administration role after retiring as an athlete, but said he might be “too lazy” for the role.
“I have thought about it, I have to admit I’m slightly lazy, but we’ll see where it goes,” he said.
Bolt will headline a sparkling line-up for the Zurich leg of the Diamond League.
Fans at the Letzigrund Stadium will witness 17 new world champions, 17 world leaders, 15 reigning Olympic champions, and 5 current world record holders in action. Bolt, who will race the 100m, will be joined by teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who also won the sprint double at this month’s World Athletics Championships in Moscow. On the track, there is a rare clash of two queens of long-distance running, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar. The Moscow worlds were deprived of a head-to-head after the Ethiopian federation decided neither would be entered for the 5,000-10,000m double.
As it was, Defar won the 5,000m title and Dibaba the longer distance. Thursday’s race will be their first competitive outing at a meet in seven years.
“The 5,000m will be a nice race. But it’s my fourth race in two weeks so I’m a bit tired,” said Defar.
“I expect a tactical race because there are too many good runners in the field.”
Other recently-crowned world champions on show include American 400m runner LaShawn Merritt, Kenyan duo Asbel Kiprop (1500m) and Ezekiel Kemboi (3000m steeplechase), American David Oliver (110m hurdles) and in-form Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko.
Bondarenko is coming increasingly close to challenging the 2.45 metre world record set by Cuban Javier Sotomayor, having three times attempted it since July.
“My goal is the world record,” acknowledged the Ukrainian. “In order to tackle it, I will have to concentrate on my jump 100 percent.
“The thing is, at this height, there are many different kinds of emotions that interfere with your concentration. This makes an attempt at the record mentally difficult.”
The Zurich meet is host for the first of two finals for the 2013 IAAF Diamond League series as 16 Diamond Race winners will be crowned.
The Diamond Race finals for the other 16 disciplines will be contested at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 6.Agencies