Usain Bolt on the goal he ‘missed out on,’ why he won’t pull a Michael Phelps

Usain Bolt
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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.”

VIDEO: Bolt on the dying fan he won’t forget

Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

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