Bolt to the media: «Don't hype the youngsters»

OSLO/MÜNICH (NRK): Usain Bolt gets noticeably frustrated when discussing how the media hype young talents.

Usain Bolt

DON'T LIKE THE HYPE: - I've always said "stop hyping these kids" and "let them work".

Foto: Eric Gaillard / Reuters

The man dubbed "fastest man ever", has experienced it all, and in his exclusive interview with NRK, he blames the media for throwing youngsters to the wolves too quickly.

– I've said this to people before. I need to speak up. The youngsters coming up seems to think that they can do anything, without even trying or working. As soon as they come out of high school and have one fast time, the media starts saying "look at this guy, he's going to be the next Usain Bolt", or "he's going to beat Usain Bolt", explains Bolt and continues:

- I've been doing this for years, and running one fast time doesn't mean anything to me. When someone is running 9,9 (seconds on the 100 metres), it's whatever, you know? I've always said "stop hyping these kids" and "let them work". I'm going to say this repeatedly this year: When they say they're going to beat me, why should I believe you? Bolt says.

Bolt: – I've beat them all

There's no reason for him to listen to journalists in his own opinion. Everyone who has tried, have failed.

– There was Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Johan Blake, Justin Gatlin – all these guys were top athletes before these new youngsters are coming up. Yet, it's never happened. I beat them. That's something I've noticed over the years. People coming up, the media hyping them and then the young ones saying they're going to beat me, and showing no respect. It is what it is, laughs Bolt.

He knows what he's talking about. Only last year, before a single sprint had been done in Rio de Janeiro during the Summer Olympics, Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse told the world press that he was out "to get Bolt" during the Games.

It didn't quite work out that way, however, as Bolt's lightning pace once again proved to be superior to anyone else, as Bolt won not only the 100 metres and 200 metres events, but also the 4 x 100 metres.

- Everybody wants to be a champion. Some people try to climb the ladder quicker than others, and skip a few steps on the ladder. That's one of the things I've noticed with youngsters, says Bolt.

In the future, Bolt will be watching closely from the stands, as one young sprinter after another tries to beat Bolt's world records.

– I'm looking forward to them trying to be as good as me.

Tells youngsters to listen to their coaches

Instead of letting the media tell young sprinters rising to prominence how good they can be, Bolt advises them to listen to the ones who know them best; their own coaches.

– It's always about understanding and listening to the coaches. Look at Christophe Lemaitre. I remember when he became the first white sprinter to beat the 10 second mark on the 100 metres. I was questioned about him, and I told them this: The worst thing the media can do is put pressure on the youngsters, and everything I said they shouldn't do, they did. After that year, things started going downhill for him. He was under so much pressure. Not everybody has the mental strength to have the whole country on their back. You have to make them enjoy track and field. After he lost for a few years, he came third in the Olympics last year. Why? Because he had no pressure. Nobody expected anything from him, but he kept working and listened to his coach, says the world's fastest man.

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