Bolt struck

Track star, who was stunned with bronze finish, still par­ents’ gem

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON — Usain Bolt rightly de­scribes him­self as a leg­end but while his nat­u­ral abil­ity brought him that sta­tus it was his par­ents who molded him into the win­ning per­son­al­ity he be­came.

Fun-lov­ing, easy-go­ing and a show­man but with a re­morse­less com­pet­i­tive edge, both on and off the track, Bolt also has a sen­si­tive side to him which ex­tends par­tic­u­larly to his mother Jen­nifer.

“The only thing that can make me cry is my mum,” he told Bri­tish news­pa­per The Guardian last year.

“If I dis­ap­point her or up­set her or we’re not speak­ing, or some­thing goes wrong, then I cry. I am a mummy’s boy.”

One in­stance where his mother played a cru­cial role was when she went to his aid when he was cry­ing in the locker room ahead of the 2002 world ju­nior cham­pi­onships in Kingston, Ja­maica.

“When I talked with him, he stopped cry­ing. He said, ‘OK, mommy. I’m go­ing to do my best,’ ” she told Heavy.com.

There were no tears on Satur­day de­spite Bolt suf­fer­ing a shock de­feat in the 100m fi­nal at the world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don as Justin Gatlin gate­crashed his last ap­pear­ance in an in­di­vid­ual sprint.

But his leg­end re­mains in­tact. He won the 100m at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics as well as the 200m in those same years.

Bolt was also 100m world cham­pion in 2009, 2013 and 2015; 200m cham­pion in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

For good mea­sure, he set the 100m world record of 9.58sec in 2009 and the 200m best of 19.19sec in the same year.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t end it on a win­ning note, but I want to thank you for your sup­port,” said Bolt on Satur­day af­ter run­ning 9.95sec to claim bronze be­hind Amer­i­cans Chris­tian Coleman (9.94) and Gatlin (9.92). “It’s been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence as al­ways.”

Bolt, who de­scribed go­ing through dark times when he at­tended the crash scene where his close friend, Bri­tain’s 2008 Olympic silver high­jump medal­list Ger­maine Ma­son, died ear­lier this year in Ja­maica, said his fa­ther Welles­ley treated him dif­fer­ently to his mother as a kid.

Money was tight but Bolt’s par­ents en­sured he did not want for anything.

Welles­ley, who fa­thered two older chil­dren with two other women, used to pay sur­prise vis­its to his son’s school to make sure he was not miss­ing train­ing and play­ing video games in the ar­cades in­stead.

Welles­ley and Jen­nifer con­tinue to live in the same house in Sher­wood Con­tent in Ja­maica where Bolt se­nior runs a shop.

He said he thinks his son ap­pre­ci­ates hav­ing had a firm hand of dis­ci­pline when he was grow­ing up.

“I told him, ‘It’s dif­fi­cult to find money to send you to school’,” Welles­ley told Heavy.com.

“He was wast­ing that (by go­ing to play in the ar­cades). He didn’t like it. But now he says I’m the best fa­ther. He said if I was the type of fa­ther who let him do that, prob­a­bly he wouldn’t be where he is now.”

Aside from en­sur­ing that Bolt did not go off the straight and nar­row as a child, his par­ents also took on per­haps the man he con­sid­ers as his sec­ond fa­ther — busi­ness man­ager Nor­man Peart.

Over 15 years he has en­sured that the mu­sic-lov­ing, some-time DJ, can look for­ward to a life­long party, should he wish it to be, with­out wor­ry­ing about money.

It was Peart, who went to the same school as Bolt, who ap­proved the run­ner’s lu­cra­tive deal with kit sup­plier Puma and whose shrewd in­vest­ments helped the su­per- star earn $32 mil­lion last year.

Peart was also en­trusted with look­ing af­ter Bolt when he left home aged 15 for Jam­ica’s cap­i­tal, Kingston.

Although he said he “slipped oc­ca­sion­ally”, he was es­sen­tially con­sci­en­tious and al­ways went home for Christ­mas, a red-line de­mand for his fam­ily.

Peart told The Ja­maican Gleaner that Bolt is a “a nice, kind-hearted per­son who loves to help peo­ple”.

Bolt feels in­debted to Peart and his par­ents.

“The team­work and un­der­stand­ing be­tween them shaped my life,” he said.

“Be­ing the mean­est per­son I know (he said laugh­ing with re­gard to Peart), I know my fi­nances are in good hands.

“He will tell me it as it is and he pays strict at­ten­tion to me be­ing fi­nan­cially se­cure af­ter I hang up my spikes.”

PHIL NO­BLE / REUTERS

Usain Bolt looks stunned af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the 100m fi­nal at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships at Lon­don Sta­dium on Satur­day. The Ja­maican su­per­star had been hop­ing to win his fourth world ti­tle in the event to add to his three Olympic 100m golds be­fore re­tire­ment but was de­nied by Amer­i­cans Justin Gatlin, who took gold, and Chris­tian Coleman, who claimed silver.

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