Retired Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Ato Boldon says he is happy that Usain Bolt was not around during his track and field career.
Bolt resurrected the sprinting world with two phenomenal individual performances last August at the Olympic Games in Beijing, and the Trinidadian four-time Olympic medal winner admits to being thankful he didn’t had to face-off with the Jamaican.
“Thank God I retired before this guy (Bolt) started to run like this,” the 35-year-old Boldon told the Runner’s Tribe.
Bolt is the current undisputed king of world sprinting after world record victories in Beijing, clocking 9.69 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.30 in the 200 metres.
Like Bolt, Boldon is one of only few athletes to win World Championship Senior and Junior gold medals, both boasting auspicious junior performances that carried over into senior competition.
Now a track and field television broadcast analyst, Boldon was never shy of racing against the best in world, but confessed preparing for Bolt would mean taking a different approach to his training.
“I would have to train more like a 400-metre runner,” said Boldon, the 1992 World Junior sprint double champion.
“The truth is that anyone can analyze all day and train all day (on beating Bolt). But maybe two or three people on the planet have the race model that can cause Usain any problems at 100 metres and at 200, it’s even worse.
“At the end of the day, the Ford can’t do much about the Ferrari coming up fast behind it. The only way to beat Bolt is from the front – so that means great start and more importantly great first 60-70,” added Boldon, who retired in 2004 with career-best times of 9.86 (100m) and 19.77 (200m).
Asked if chasing a world record of 9.69 seconds would have motivated him to work harder in training or to push more in races, the 1997 200-metre World Championship gold medallist said all world marks motivated him.
“You aim for wherever the target has been set. If my target was 9.69, I am sure that would be very motivational.
“But I was no less motivated when the target was 9.84 (and then 9.79). You aim for wherever the target has been set,” added Boldon, who won double bronze at the Atlanta Olympics and silver (100m) and bronze (200m) at the Sydney Olympics.
Currently, Boldon is joint 10th fastest all-time over 100 metres and the 12th quickest in history over 200 metres.