Not long after Bolt wrapped up five pushups to celebrate his second consecutive win at 200 meters in 19.32 seconds and his second gold medal at these games, he strode to the podium to speak to a host of media.
The topic was legendary status. Bolt didn’t offer much humility in addressing it.
“I’m happy because I made myself a legend,” Bolt said. “I’m the greatest.” And, “I’ve done it, this is what I wanted; I’ve wanted to become a legend. You can bask in my glory now.”
It’s hard to blame someone in Bolt’s position for being a little braggadocios. After all, no other sprinter in history has repeated in the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the Olympic games. His world records in each event have gone to places — 9.58 in the 100 and 19.19 in the 200 — that nobody would have dreamed possible as late as 2007.
He’s no doubt been impressive and dominant and every other superlative you want to attach to his performances of late.
But legendary? That’s a bit of a subjective label but I personally would like to see him do a bit more to test himself. Bolt started with the 200 and 400 meter sprints and I think it would be a treat to watch him try to set a world record in the 400 and race for gold against Grenada’s Kirani James (who could be the next great sprinter) and others in Rio in 2016.
Word is he hates the training for it and isn’t likely to pick up the 400 meter race again. That’s a shame because it would be fascinating to see just what Bolt is truly capable of as an athlete. The 100 and 200 come easy for him, that much is certain. Testing himself in a race that he doesn’t much like, against competition new to him and featuring some elite up-and-comers much like himself five years ago, would really make him a legend in the sport.
What will he do? We’ll find out in due time but let’s hope for our sake that Bolt stays hungry and sets some new goals for himself.