What next for Usain Bolt?

What next for Usain Bolt?
© PA Photos
Sports Mole examines what direction Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's career could head in following the conclusion of the Olympic Games in London.

Among all of the dancing, taking photos and that pose, Usain Bolt knelt down following his success in the men's 200m final and planted a kiss on the London Olympic Stadium track.

Was he is kissing goodbye to the Olympic Games altogether?

Some will find it hard to comprehend the biggest sporting event on earth without Bolt's presence. After all, he will only be 29 when the Games arrive in Rio de Janeiro come the summer of 2016 - still a prime age for a sprinter - a fact proved by the likes of Carl Lewis and Linford Christie in Olympics gone by.

But surely you have to question the hunger of man who has won everything on offer to him (more than once in most cases) and someone as laid back as Bolt.

Nobody had ever defended the men's 200m at an Olympics. Bolt did that in style, as well as retaining his 100m crown. He even ran the anchor leg as the Jamaican quartet of sprinters broke the world record on their way to winning gold in the 4x100m relay.

How could it get any better? Become the first man to win gold in those three events in three successive Games? Not likely. Even Bolt himself seemed reluctant to commit to such a challenge. For a start, could his body take such a demand? Secondly, will he commit to training day in and day out to make that possible? Doubtful. He's recently gone on record to admit that he isn't the easiest athlete to coach.

Bolt is also not a man to settle for mediocrity or second best. Despite still expressing his confident nature, it hurt him to trail compatriot Yohan Blake during the Jamaican trials earlier this year.

Come Rio, Boxing Day-born Blake will be 26 and will have four years' worth of work under his belt. The Beast's current best times stand at 9.75 seconds (100m) and 19.26 seconds (200m). With the much publicised dedication that he has to training, it seems almost certain that he will post quicker times.

And as Bolt confesses, it is not just Blake that he will have to contend with.

"I have thought about Rio, but it will be hard because Yohan has just come into the game," he told BBC Sport. "He is running pretty well and I am sure there are going to be a lot more young cats coming up to run.

"This is just wonderful, I am so happy. I will take it a step at a time and see what happens in four years."

There is no way that Bolt will accept becoming just another sprinter. Someone that loses as many races as ends up winning. His personality and ego simply would not allow it.

So, before that comes to fruition - and it will eventually - there is every chance Bolt will call time on his Olympic career to restrict any chance of his legendary status being tainted.

That's not to say he will announce his retirement tomorrow or the day after. It would be a surprise not to see him competing at the World Championships in Moscow next year in a bid to right the wrongs of Daegu 2011. His great friend and training partner Blake is the current world champion. Perhaps the best way for him to go would be having successfully wrestled the crown away from the young pretender - the man who is expected to fill is big running shoes.

Whether he goes on to play football for Manchester United, cricket in the IPL or continues partying with the Swedish women's handball team to 4am every morning (or all three), it's a fairly safe bet that he'll be good at it!

One thing is for sure, Bolt will want to go out on a jaw-dropping, self-absorbing high. He deserves to as well. Athletics and the Olympics will be a poorer place without him.

Usain Bolt
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