The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, told reporters this week that he plans to hang up his running shoes after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Bolt had previously hinted at a future career in soccer, and he’s known to be a talented cricket player. In the meantime, however, Bolt said he plans to dominate the global sprint arena during his last hurrah.

“I think I have four more years left in the sport, so now it’s all about dominating for those four years,” The Telegraph quoted Bolt as saying at the opening of the Rome Golden Gala, the start of track and field’s European season which climaxes at the World Championships in Moscow in August.

“I’m looking forward to the next Olympics to do something that’s never been done before,” he added. “That’s one of my biggest goals right now. And for the next four years I will try to dominate the sport and show people that it’s possible to go on being the best, year in, year out.”

The self-appointed “living legend,” who won three gold medals at the London games last summer, suffered an early-season hamstring strain, which may have contributed to his lackluster showing so far this year. Bolt’s fastest time this season was 10.09 seconds at the Cayman Invitational on May 9, which was his slowest in a finals since joining the senior circuit, according to NBC Sports.

U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin, an Olympic 100-meter bronze medalist, predicted that this season’s battle for sprinting preeminence could be a “dogfight,” The Telegraph said.

And that battle begins this week in Rome’s Olympic Stadium, where Gatlin, the second fastest in the world this year behind Tyson Gay with a time of 9.91 seconds, will pit himself against Bolt and other sprinters.

But Bolt said he isn’t worried about Gatlin–or any other competitor for that matter.
“ proven this season he’s getting into great shape, but I don’t worry about other athletes. Only myself,” NBC quoted him as saying. “One-off runs are not the main thing for me. I’m worried about doing my best at the championships.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO