Thats it, all done and dusted, never to see Usain Bolt racing on a track again. What a journey it’s been. A scrawny kid from Jamaica, dropping incredible times as a 17 year old - 19.93sec in the 200m (fast enough to win this years 200m World Championships in London!).
To then having an incredibly rough and testing time with injury. Doubts creeping in from all sides as to whether this unicorn would ever be healthy enough to fulfil his extraordinary potential. Then came 2008 and BOOM!! He changed the sport forever.
I remember being at that 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, sat in our appartment in the Olympic Village with a handful of my GB teammates, settling in to watch the mens 100m final. We could not believe what we had just saw, the room was eerily quiet (quite possibly because a couple of my teammates present had to race him in the 200 metres later in the programme, imagine, ouch!) and our mouthes were wide open! What just happened! How did someone just win the 100m Olympic final by THAT FAR, celebrating 10 metres from the finishing line, arms out stretched, beating his chest like Tarzan AND shattering his own world record!! To this day, in my opinion its the greatest performance at the Olympic Games. We were mesmersied, like someone had just crept in and hypnotised us - sleep! It still gives me goose bumps. I remember breaking the silence by saying to the guys contesting Bolt in the 200m “forget him and focus on you” as I realised what was likely going through their mind.
Routes to success are rarely easy. We bask in peoples success often feeling like they have just arrived there. Not true. Look at Bolts path, huge doubts were thrown over him for years. I remember him also at the 2004 Olympics, this crazy talent and again struggling with injury, with the weight of Jamaica on his young shoulders. Yet, four years later, he found his recipe.
He could have quit, he could have believed his doubters, he could have lost focus and thankfully he never. We all go through struggles on our own path - you must be determined and persistent with an oceans worth of self belief, more than anyone else around you.
It then came to his farewell. The plan to bow out on top with another gold medal at the World Championships, in front of a beloved crowd in London. It didnt work out that way. To be honest s*** happens! You can have the greatest plan in the world but sometimes it just doesnt work out. If it can happen to the greatest athlete of all-time, it can happen to anyone. The next time this happens to you, never be disheartened, know its part of the journey, it is what it is. Did you give it your best, yes, then keep smiling.
Bolts legend hasnt been tainted, in fact I would argue its been enhanced, he showed true sportsmanship and humility. Only increasing the love for him.
When else will you ever see someone who has came 3rd in the World Championships 100m final to receive an applause only normally reserved for the Champion?!…….
The main thing he wil be remembered for is having fun. We loved watching Bolt because he was enjoying himself and letting us all in on the party. I’m a believer that our greatest performances come when we’re enjoying ourselves - not everybody wants to smile, pull faces and dance around to have fun but whatever it is that you find fun, embrace that, enjoy yourself. Otherwise, what are you doing it all for?!
Nathan Douglas - Mind, Performance & Lifestyle Coach, Double Olympian and International Medallist.
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