KUALA LUMPUR: Talent only goes so far; it’s hard work that makes all the difference.
“This is the first thing he (present coach) said to me,” said Usain Bolt (pic) – who is the world’s fastest sprinter – to the 3,000 people in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre main hall at the Global Transformation Forum yesterday.
“Everybody on the circuit has talent...But what makes them great is the training and discipline that they have,” he added.
Seated on stage with him, CNN anchor Richard Quest – the moderator of his one-hour segment – referred to a clip shown on the big screen behind them, where Bolt was seen training and having fun with his friends.
“I don’t think I’m being a bit unfair when I say that you’re a party animal,” Quest said.
“I am!” Bolt said with a grin. The crowd laughed.
Bolt said partying relaxed him, adding that being on the track and field was “intense”.
“Every time it gets overwhelming, I go out and party, and then I go back,” he said, and the crowd laughed again.
Bolt said when he started to race professionally, his first goal was to get his mum a washing machine and a car for his dad.
“I assume you got her a new washing machine?” Quest asked.
“Yes, I got her a few,” came the reply from Bolt with a laugh.
He also shared with the audience about his training, the challenges faced in his career, and of events that he couldn’t control, such as when he had to give back a medal after a 2008 Olympic teammate in the 4x100m relay tested positive for prohibited substance use.
Bolt said it took him a while to get over it, but added that when one has no control over an event, there was no point getting stressed about it.
To a question from the floor on what was the lowest point of his career, Bolt answered it was just after high school, when he started to race professionally.
He remembered the nasty remarks made by some that he was merely good in high school and he wasn’t going to get anywhere big.
“If you listen to people all the time, they get inside your head,” he said.
“Now you’re a superhero, nobody wants to pull you down!” Quest said.
“They still try, believe me...I don’t want to listen to negativity,” Bolt replied.
Speaking to the Malaysian media later, Bolt said he would only decide if he would be playing football after his training at German club Borussia Dortmund over the next few days.
He added that he had been invited to train with the club and its players.
“Personally, I want to do it but we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
Bolt had previously voiced his interest in playing football and possibly even joining Manchester United after retiring from running.
He is expected to retire from running in August.