Usain Bolt’s career is a disappointment to nobody – except, perhaps, to Bolt himself.
Speaking from the IAAF awards after winning male Athlete of the Year, Bolt said if he could go back in time, he would change one thing: taking his sport more seriously early in his career to have won more medals.
“When I look back the only real thing I think I would change was to have got more serious more quickly,” Bolt said, according to Reuters’ Mitch Phillips.
“I was relying more on my talent. If I’d got more serious I think I would have done a lot more in my career. It’s shocking but it’s true. Maybe if I’d started younger I’d have had four Olympics.”
Bolt said that after losing to US sprinter Tyson Gay at the 2007 World Championships, his trainer motivated him to get better.
“After I lost I remember going to my coach saying, ‘I really tried my best but what can I do to win because I really need to win?’ He said, ‘You’re slacking off in the gym. If you want to win you have to get stronger.’ So I was like ‘alright’. I knew what I needed to do and from then I took the step and just worked and worked.”
Bolt is largely considered the greatest sprinter of all time. He completed a triple-triple in the Rio Olympics this year, winning gold medals in the 100-, 200-meter, and 4×100-meter in for the third time in his career, to bring his gold medal total to nine.
Bolt added that he is reducing his workload for one more season in which he’ll only run the 100-meter.
Bolt didn’t disappoint in dominating three Olympic games, and he went out on top, but what he could have been if he took his sport more seriously is a tantalizing thought.