Why Usain Bolt Should Slow Down

Article excerpt

As this year's track-and-field season ends, one thing is clear: there is no one like Usain Bolt. Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, and I broke our share of records. And every sport has its young phenom--its Tiger Woods, its Wayne Gretzky, its Michael Jordan--who breaks records and catapults himself into stardom. But the astonishing thing about Bolt is that he's just 22 and has achieved every accomplishment possible for a sprinter: he has won world championships and Olympic golds and has broken--indeed, demolished--world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. At the World Championships in Berlin this summer he broke records he himself set at the Beijing Olympics last year by more than 0.1aseconds in each, to 9.58aseconds and 19.1aseconds, respectively.

But now it might be time for Bolt to slow down. Physically, there is no doubt he can continue to compete, and there is no telling how fast he might go one day. But mentally, it is a different story. The most difficult thing for a young, accomplished athlete to do is to figure out how to stay motivated. For an athlete who knows before he even arrives at a race that he's going to win--and one who has already made money and achieved celebrity status, as Bolt has--one has to wonder: where is the drive going to come from? …