Usain Bolt said the only thing that he “missed out on” during his unrivaled career was breaking 19 seconds in the 200m.
Bolt, who owns the 200m world record of 19.19 from 2009, finally gave up on his goal of lowering the mark at an interesting time and place — during the Rio Olympic 200m final.
“In my mind, I genuinely thought I could run under 19 seconds until I came off that corner and my legs decided that we weren’t going to do anything about this,” Bolt said Friday in Monaco for the annual IAAF awards gala.
Bolt clocked 19.78 seconds to win gold in Rio, way off his times from 2008 (19.30) and 2012 (19.32). For years, he has talked about wanting to break 19 seconds in the 200m, his signature race.
“That’s probably the only thing, I wouldn’t say regret, but something that I missed out on,” Bolt said. “It wouldn’t be a regret because no one would have thought I would have run 19.19. Not even myself. So, for me, it was something that was possible, could be possible, and I missed out on.”
Bolt has said he won’t race the 200m at his final global championship, the world championships in London in August. He will focus on the 100m and 4x100m relay and he might not race the 200m again before he retires in 2017 or 2018.
“I’m not trying to do too much work than I have to do,” Bolt said Friday. “So if I run the 100m and the 4x100m, then my workload would be cut, I wouldn’t say significantly, but it will be cut down.”
Bolt has also said he’s not focused on trying to break any world records next season. Getting through the year healthy, which has been a problem in recent years, and appeasing his fans are the goals.
Bolt also repeated that he would not pull a Michael Phelps by taking a year off from the sport and then unretiring for one more Olympic run.
Bolt said his longtime coach, Glen Mills, cautioned against it.
“Most athletes that leave the sport and come back, it never goes well,” Bolt said. “If you leave track and field and put weight on and pretty much do no form of running, then to come back two years from that and to compete again, it’s not going to be the same.”
Bolt reportedly told German media that Phelps’ swimming can’t be compared to his sprinting in comments published last week.
“Swimming is something natural,” Bolt reportedly said. “Michael will continue to swim after his retirement.
“But 100 and 200 meters of running, this is nothing natural. If you stop this, you don’t start again. At least I will not.”Follow @nzaccardi