USAIN BOLT EYES 2017 AS HIS LAST HURRAH

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Photo: Usain Bolt kisses his gold medal in Beijing

Some fans regard him as a legend, some call him the invincible one, to some he is the face of track and field in the modern era, and he is regarded by many as the greatest male athlete to ever grace the track.

“I'm now a legend. I'm also the greatest athlete to live.”

The sentiments of the big man himself, Usain Bolt, after winning his seventh straight title in the 100 and 200m, in London 2012

Highly ranked amongst, if not atop of the list of great names in track and field, with the likes of the great Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson and Maurice Green who have inducted their name in male sprinting with some stellar track and field accomplishments.

The Honorable MR USAIN ST.LEO BOLT. O.J. C.D. nickname "Lightning Bolt has revolutionized track and field for the last 7 years. And currently holds the world records in the sprints with times of 9.58s in the 100m, 19.19s in the 200m, world best time in the 150m at 14.35s and is a member of the world sprint relay record quartet with time of 36.84s.

Bolt has so far ,since his rise to prominence, been awarded with Honours such as IAAF World Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013,Track & Field Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2009,Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2013, BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2012, L'Équipe Champion of Champions: 2008, 2009, 2012 Jamaica Sportsman of the year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 , Marca Leyenda (2009) and is a part of an elite group of only eight athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.

Bolt showed signs of greatness from his high school days. As a junior representing Jamaica he signalled to the world that he would be a force to reckon with in years to come. He started out in high school with William Knibb High, doing what most regard as the difficult double, the 400m and 200 m, for which Green is the only male athlete in history to win both titles at the same Olympics games. At 2002 World Junior Championships before a home crowd in Kingston, Jamaica, got Bolt a chance to prove his credentials on the world stage. By the age of 15, he won the 200 m, in a time of 20.61 s. Bolt with that victory in the 200m became the youngest World Junior gold medalist ever.

Bolt after trying to make the transition to the senior ranks eventually gave up the quarter mile for the shortest sprint and has ruled the world since 2008.

Bolt claimed his first medal, bronze, as a senior at the IAAF World Athletics final in Stuggart, Germany. He followed up with silver at the IAAF World Cup in Athens Greece and silver again at the World Championships in Osaka Japan in a time of 19.91s.

In 2008 Bolt announced himself to the world as the newest sensation in track and field ,with his mindboggling, unforgettable dominance at the 29th edition of the Olympic games in Bejing's "BIRDS NEST" Olympic stadium copping triple gold.

Bolt holds the distinction of being first to achieve a "double double" by winning 100 m and 200 m titles at consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012) and topped this through the first "double triple" (including 4×100 m relays).

Bolt have won over the hearts of many persons across the globe, from former stars likes of Maurice Green who throughout his career, won four Olympic gold medals and was crowned world champion eight times. Johnson currently holds the world record in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay and Carl Lewis who won for himself 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold, in a career that spanned from 1979 to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired.

The 27 year old had previously announced that he would retire after the 2016 Olympics in Rio but told reporters at the Commonwealth Games, after anchoring his team to victory, that he is now considering ending his illustrious career in London a year later at the World Championships.

Bolt was quoted from an interview live on BBC Radio 5 that “I think I've done enough in the 100. I know people want to see me run fast in the 100 but I love my 200 and I want to do something special for myself. So for me, my main aim is the 200."

"The world record can keep going down. You never know who's going to show up next and dominate," he said.
"I've said I want to run sub 19. That's one of my biggest goals and my biggest dreams, so I'm definitely going to be training hard and seeing what I can do."

"I might just go onto 2017, but I think that will be my last championships," he said. "The training is not so easy. I remember asking Michael Johnson when the time came for him to retire and he said 'when there's nothing else to achieve'. I hate losing so that's when I will retire."

Almost two weeks after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games, while speaking at a news conference in Rio de Janerio, Brazil last Friday, the six-time Olympic gold medalist and 100m and 200m world record holder confirmed that he was convinced and persuaded by his sponsors and as such that he will compete for a further extra year.

"I think I'm going to do another year. My sponsors asked me to do one more year, so I will compete until 2017,"

Bolt will have his right hand full in the next three years, at age 30, with the expectation of younger and fast rising talents from the sprint capital Jamaica, from the USA, we saw countries like japan showing off young rising sprints stars along with a few other from the Caribbean. His left hand may have to bear the grinds on the body from the physical demands of training required to stay on top.

Bolt who is not immune to injuries, has in the past, suffered from injuries to his hamstring from as far back as 2004 and a foot injury that he picked up in 2013-2014.

Usain Bolt was also born with scoliosis, curvature of the spine, which predisposes him to back injuries which he has battled several times during his athletic career.

Usain hopes to become the first male athlete to win the 100m crown at three consecutive Olympic Games and the 200m at four consecutive World Championship games.

The Big question is, will he be able to remain injury free or will injuries curtail his bid and desire to stay on top till 2017 or will the emergence of new world stars forcE him making an early exit?

We anxiously wait, as only time will tell.