Ottey: Usain is a leg­end

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - – An­dré Lowe

LON­DON, Eng­land: LE­GENDARY JA­MAICAN sprinter Mer­lene Ottey says she is look­ing to re­turn to the sport and be­lieves Usain Bolt is call­ing time on his ca­reer at the end of next sea­son sim­ply be­cause he has had enough of life as a com­pet­i­tive ath­lete.

The ever­green sprinter told The Gleaner that she would wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to get in­volved in coach­ing or to play an am­bas­sado­rial role in ad­vanc­ing and pro­mot­ing the sport.

Ottey, who won three sil­ver and six bronze medals at the Olympic Games, en­joyed a long ca­reer, which saw her set­ting sev­eral records, in­clud­ing most ap­pear­ances by a track and field ath­lete at the Olympic Games (seven) with her 14 medals be­ing the most at the World Championships.

“I am in Switzer­land, I just moved there two years ago. At the mo­ment, I am not do­ing any­thing, but I want to get back in­volved in the sport. A coach, an am­bas­sador? That is some­thing I would do, but I will see where the op­por­tu­nity presents it­self,” she told The Gleaner on the red car­pet for Bolt’s I am Bolt pre­miere at the Odeon Le­ices­ter Square cin­ema in Lon­don last night.

SHE CAN RE­LATE

Ottey, 56, who went on to rep­re­sent Slove­nia be­tween 2002 and 2012, added that she can re­late to Bolt’s weari­ness, while shar­ing her own thoughts on the 100m and 200m world record holder.

“I think he’s had enough. He has won ev­ery­thing and I mean, what else is there to do? But what­ever he does in the fu­ture, I know he will be suc­cess­ful. I think he will al­ways put his best for­ward every time,” said Ottey.

“I know what he is go­ing through. I got a bit tired. In the begin­ning, I was just go­ing out there to run to see how fast I could run and I got to the point where I said I was sat­is­fied and it was time to walk off,” added Ottey, who an­chored Slove­nia’s 4x100m re­lay team at the 2012 Euro­pean Championships at the age of 52.

“For me, just to watch him run is amaz­ing. It’s a pity he has to re­tire soon, but I am very thank­ful and very grate­ful to Usain, he is a leg­end.”

Ottey, who shared that she plans to travel to Ja­maica for next year’s Boys and Girls Ath­let­ics Championships noted that she was con­vinced of Bolt’s spe­cial tal­ent when she saw him com­pete at the 2002 World Ju­nior Championships in Kingston, where he won gold in the 200m.

“When he was about 15, I saw him at the Ju­nior World Championships, I thought to my­self that this is a star. Peo­ple tend to for­get about his ear­lier years and they prob­a­bly recog­nised him in 2008, but Usain was al­ready born, he was a cham­pion from be­fore that,” said Ottey.

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