Sprint legend Usain Bolt said he could have emerged from retirement to win a fourth straight Olympic 100m title in Tokyo this year, insisting the winning time was within his reach.
Bolt, 35, told AFP that it was frustrating to watch the delayed 2020 Games from his home in Jamaica as his male countrymen flopped and Italy’s Lamont Jacobs claimed a shock victory.
“I really missed it. I was like, I wish I was there,” he said in an interview at the Dubai offices of his sponsor PepsiCo on Sunday.
“Because for me, I live for those moments. So it was hard to watch.”
Bolt dominated sprinting for a generation, winning eight Olympic gold medals and only losing a ninth when his 2008 4x100m relay team-mate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.
The first Olympic 100m final since the great showman’s departure was a subdued affair, with Jacobs clocking 9.80sec at a Covid-emptied Tokyo National Stadium.
“My coach said something to me at the end of my career. He said, ‘People are not getting faster. I was getting slower.’ I never looked at it that way,” said Bolt.
“And it’s the facts because a lot of guys don’t really get faster. Because I have pushed the barrier so far and then I started going backward time-wise, so for me, 9.80 was possible to get done.”
But Bolt, who has dabbled in football and music since retiring, said it was “all about motivation” when he was considering a potential comeback in Tokyo.
“For the Olympics, it was gonna be different,” said the father of three.
“I always show up ready because I think this is the highest level, but I’ve already done everything in the sport so it was all about motivation