Usain Bolt discusses viral photo on TODAY

Usain Bolt
Getty Images
0 Comments

By now, if you follow the Olympics, you have seen the photo at the top of this story. It shows Usain Bolt calmly looking backwards and smiling at his opponents, who are straining just to stay in the frame during the 100m semifinal in Rio.

The photo, captured by Getty Images’ Cameron Spencer, went viral and quickly became a meme.

The world’s fastest man was asked about the photo during an interview on TODAY this morning.

“People kept on saying, ‘Why were you smiling?’” Bolt said. “I was like, ‘I was just happy!’”

The appearance began a busy day in New York for Bolt, who hosted at least two Facebook Lives and wore the referee-inspired Foot Locker uniform during an appearance for Puma.

Bolt was asked who will win the 100m gold medal at the 2020 Olympics during a Facebook Live with Sports Illustrated. While Bolt admitted that a lot could change between now and then, he identified Canada’s Andre De Grasse as a potential favorite. De Grasse, the sprinter on the far left of the viral photo, won three sprinting medals in Rio, including the 100m bronze medal.

“I know he has the talent,” Bolt said.

Bolt added little clarity to the ever-changing narrative of when he will retire.

During the TODAY appearance, he reiterated that he would retire after the 2017 World Championships in London. Later in the day, he told Sports Illustrated that there was a chance he would keep racing after 2017.

“It’s definitely slim, but you never know,” he said. “That’s why my coach says, ‘Stop saying you are going to retire. Enjoy it, and after the season, if you feel like it’s time, then you retire.’”

Bolt, jokingly, even left the door open to retiring from track before the 2017 World Championships.

“If I had the chance to play for Manchester United, I would go right now,” he said on his personal Facebook Live. “I would retire and start playing futbol right now. That’s how much I really want to play for Manchester United.”

Bolt also discussed his post-track plans, for whenever that will be.

He wants to open a health clinic in Jamaica to help young athletes get medical treatment. He also is hoping to stay involved in track and field, but not as a coach.

“No, that is not going to happen,” Bolt said, laughing, during his personal Facebook Live. “I’ll do motivational talking, I’ll do all these things, but I don’t think I’ll ever go into coaching. Coaching is just so much, it’s hard. The stress I put my coach through and all that…sorry, I know I disappointed a lot of people.”

He does not plan in following in the footsteps of U.S. sprinters Ryan Bailey and Tyson Gay, who have tried bobsledding.

“It’s already cold in a jacket in the snow,” Bolt said in Sports Illustrated’s Facebook Live. “To be in full tights? No.”

MORE: Allyson Felix eager to double again