Usain Bolt ponders TV work, compliments Justin Gatlin

AP
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Usain Bolt is not interested in his own TV show in retirement, but analyst work may be in his future.

“I know I’m a showman, but I’m not really into television that much to be having my own show or anything,” Bolt said Monday in Ostrava, two days before he races in the Czech city for a ninth time. “I just like entertaining the crowd.

“We’ll see about the TV [commentary] part. I’m not sure, but I’m sure somebody will want me to do some stuff with them.”

Bolt will race a 100m in Ostrava on Wednesday at 2:55 p.m. ET against a weak field. He continues to prepare for his farewell world championships in London in August before hanging up the spikes.

Bolt repeated Monday that he may race again this season after worlds.

He goes into Wednesday’s race, his second of the season, ranked No. 22 in the world in the 100m. Bolt ran 10.03 seconds at his final career race in Jamaica on June 10, his slowest-ever 100m this late in a season. He called that effort “horrifying.”

It’s not much of a worry, given Bolt’s history of easing into the summer. And that no other sprinter is unbeaten this season.

Bolt said he was “shocked” that his main rival the last few years, Justin Gatlin, came back to win the U.S. 100m title on Friday night.

Gatlin, who had not run a sub-10 wind-legal 100m in 2017 going into that final, overcame NCAA champion Christian Coleman in 9.95 seconds. Coleman, who made the U.S. team in the 100m and 200m, still owns the fastest time in the world this year of 9.82 seconds.

“I was actually shocked that [Gatlin] actually won the trials because of just how quick the young kids were running,” said Bolt, who won his third Olympic title in Rio in 9.81 seconds, his slowest winning time at an Olympics or worlds. “That just shows that Justin Gatlin’s a competitor, you know what I mean? He shows, year after year, that he’s not be taken lightly.”

It sets up another potential Bolt-Gatlin showdown in the world championships 100m final on Aug. 5. Bolt relegated Gatlin to silver at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds and in Rio.

Bolt’s coach for all of those Olympic titles, Glen Mills, has been pushing the sprinter hard to get into coaching.

“Maybe next season, I’ll be at the track a lot, but I won’t be a coach [yet],” Bolt said. “I just want do what I have to and retire, take a vacation. Just relax. I let my team worry about what direction I should go after I retire.”

Bolt has repeated that he will miss two facets of being a professional athlete — the fans and the competition.

“Especially if I see like a youngster steps up and starts running some fast times, I’ll definitely think I’ll miss the fact that I could have gotten the chance to compete against this person,” he said.

Those youngsters may already be emerging.

Wayde van Niekerk, the 24-year-old South African who broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record in Rio, is set to challenge Johnson’s 300m world record in Ostrava on Wednesday.

Van Niekerk is also expected to race the 200m at worlds, but Bolt is skipping that race for the first time in his career.

Then there’s 22-year-old Canadian Andre De Grasse, who ran 9.69 seconds on June 18, albeit with a massive 4.8 meters/second tailwind, making it ineligible for ranking purposes.

Can Bolt keep up with that?

“Well, I am the fastest man in the world,” he said. “So, yeah, I will say yes to that.”

MORE: Gatlin gets one more shot at Bolt after surprise U.S. 100m title

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Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”