As Usain Bolt gears up for his third Olympics, he’s chasing more than just medals.
The Jamaican sprinter and World’s Fastest Man already has six Olympic golds, having won the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the 4x100-meter relay at both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, and now he cares more about history books than about shiny things to hang around his neck.
Writing in his autobiography Faster Than Lightning, which hit stores earlier this week, Bolt says he’d like to break the 19-second mark in the 200 meters. That would mean trimming two-tenths of a second from the 19.19 word record he set in Berlin in 2009.
“Supposing I don’t make any quicker times in the 100, I would love to be able to run 18-something in the 200, even if was just an 18.99 race,” Bolt writes, according to Grenada Sports. “Forget making the next Olympics and the medals, breaking that time would be an ever bigger success. I’d love to crack it, knowing that people were sitting in their homes and losing their minds at my achievement.”
Bolt acknowledges that breaking 19 seconds would require him to have “the perfect season,” and given that the 27-year-old is no longer in the prime years of his career, he admits his “window of opportunity is getting smaller with every campaign.”
That’s why he’s eying 2014—and putting the burden squarely on one person.
“Who’s going to stop me from going faster?” he writes. “The only man who can bring an end to my status as the star of track and field in the next couple of years is me, and I’m a phenomenon, a serious competitor—a legend for my generation. Believe me, my time isn’t up just yet.”
His recent achievements are testament to that. At the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Bolt pulled off another trifecta, again winning the 100 and 200 meters and anchoring the winning Jamaican 4x100-meter-relay squad.
Heading into the qualifiers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, Bolt plans to “give it everything I’ve got” and fend off challenges from Jamaica’s talented crop of young sprinters. And if turns out he can’t hang with the new pack, the ever-confident, multi-talented athlete may have other options in the sports world.
“If I can’t race at the top level by 2016, then I want to turn my hand to another game—football, most probably, because I can play, and with enough effort, I can get even better,” Bolt writes.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg