Ten Reasons Why Usain Bolt Should Not Retire
Jamaica has had its swan song for the legend Usain Bolt following his announcement that he will be retiring from Track and field. As the event and accolades unfolded on TV, one could not help wonder if (even hope) the celebrations were premature and perhaps the first of many swan songs for Bolt. Here are ten compelling reasons Bolt should not retire now.
A quick look at the potential challengers to Bolt in the 100m and 200m will show that a part from Gatlin, Bolt has no serious challengers. Even more frightening is that there is none for the forseeable future.
2. Sprinters peak at age 30
There's a general belief that age 30 sprinters are stronger and are just about peaking. In theory therefore, Bolt at age 30 should be in his prime. If you are fan of track and field, even if Bolt could not go past his feats especially during the true golden years 2008 to 2012, wouldn't it be good to see Bolt clocking those times and making your blood boil as it did when he clocked 9.58 in Berlin, Germany 2009.
3. Bolt is featured way down at #23 on Forbes 2016 Sports Earnings
On the Forbes top athletes earnings list for 2016, Bolt falls way down the totem poll at #23 earning just over USD32 million. This compares to top earners Ronaldo and Lebron James (at 1st and 2nd place respectively) earning combined over USD170 million in salary and endorsements. None of the stars that are ahead of Bolt have more star power and so there's no reason why he shouldn't rank much higher in endorsements. Usain may think he has a lot of money now but we have seen many US sports star blow though millions when they stop competing.
4. Bolt's value to Jamaica in distracting it from all its problems since 2008 is grossly understated.
Jamaica will recall the years leading up to 2008 when America dominated the sprints. They will recall year after year that a part from some sprinkling of joy from people like Don Quarrie, all of our so called stars were the "also-rans". It was depressing. Bolt has been pure joy and has done wonders in promoting the Jamaican male "machismo" brand worldwide. At World Championships and Olympics since 2008, all Jamaicans can count on Bolt at competition time for a feeling like no other and without question bringing brief respite from its mountainous financial and social ills.
5. Usain will have too much time on his hands
Bolt it can be said said track and field but ironically (although many of us may not have thought about it), track and field has saved and is saving him. It's no secret that the legendary Jamaican sprinter enjoys a good party, things that go fast and beautiful women. He has been in at least one car accident and his friend - long jumper Germaine Mason - was just recently killed riding a high-speed motorcycle. There's no question that the rigors of training and competing keep Bolt focused and from overindulging in risky endeavors.
6. Concern for Bolt's health and well-being
The Jamaican track star himself says he fears getting a paunch when he retires. Most know why...fast food, drinking and late nights. The concern goes hand in hand with Bolt in retiring simply having too much time on his hands and having a propensity to over-indulge. It's not impossible that Bolt could not take on some other sport or pursue a lifestyle that proves us wrong but why give up a sport made for you and one you could dominate for as long as you choose?
7. Life is too short!
Knowing what most of us know, life is just too short for Bolt to be thinking of retiring from a sport that means so much in terms of his health and well-being and also financially. Like many stars much to our chagrin, Bolt should only leave track and field being dragged and screaming. The next ten years will go by quickly and then Bolt will be 40. One bad investment decision and Bolt will rue the day he retired at 30 without fool-proofing his "true retirement".
8. Sports needs its savior and most worthy ambassador
Everyone knows the scourge on track and field from drug cheats. Bolt's perennial dominance which continues to underscore that athletes can thrive and thrive for long periods without PED dependence does wonders for the sport and and is an inspiration for the new generation of athletes on the horizon.
9. The baton has not been changed
Bolt should hang around until Jamaica has found a new and worthy sprinting star. Yohan Blake at some point seemed to be the heir apparent but injuries have set him far back and he does not seen to have the confidence in going all out like he once was able to do. Similarly with track and field still delicately poised...it also incumbent on the the world track and field administration to encourage Bolt to delay until they can be sure the sport is hands of another credible star. By credible we not only mean a talented competitor but one with the "machismo" and charisma of Usain Bolt.
10. Prime Minister anyone?
If there's any good from Trump's presidency, it may be that others with fame and celebrity can rise to the highest office in the land. It is for this reason that Bolt should with all his star power and might stay on in track and field and build his resources. With those same resources, think abut what he could do for Jamaica on top of what he's already done. There's complaint all the time that Jamaica lacks leadership and especially leaders not compromised by the need to build wealth. In 15 years...Bolt for Prime Minister anyone?