Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, has announced that he will retire in London at 2017. His initial plan was to retire after the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year, but the money from Puma was too much to resist. “My sponsor has asked me to go on for another year, to 2017 and London,” where he will compete in the 100 meters at the World Championships, Bolt told the Daily Mail.
The Jamaican—who smashed the 100-meter world record with a time of 9.58 seconds in Berlin at the World Championships in 2009—is fairly confident he will still be the man to beat by then. When asked if he wins in Rio by the Mail, he replies: “Which I will.” He says he wants to protect his legacy. “I want to be remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen ever,” Bolt said.
Actually, he’s already declared himself to be much more. In 2012 at the London Olympics, after becoming the first sprinter ever to successfully defend his 100-meter and 200-meter titles, Bolt announced:
I’m now a legend, I’m also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson.
Johnson, the great American sprinter who held the 200-meter record that many said would never be beaten until Bolt broke it at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and then bettered it again in 2009, agrees with Bolt. “Usain Bolt is number one, there’s no question about that,” Johnson said in 2013. “He’s the best that’s ever been.”
After years of dominance in sprinting, many others have also rushed to declare Bolt the best ever. But not all agree. Bruce Jenner, currently better known as being one of the Kardashian clan but winner of the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, has said that Bolt is merely the best sprinter ever. ”He can’t pole vault, he can’t throw anything,” Jenner said. “That’s an athlete.”
Regardless, Bolt has two more years to try to convince doubters like Jenner. In his Mail interview, Bolt is haunted by his “failure” to break his own 9.58-second record since 2009—and sounds a warning shot that he has still has time to do it. ”If everything goes well this season… in my life anything is possible,” he said. “If I can get myself in good shape, it should be wonderful this season.”
He’s already targeted an insane sub-19-second time for the 200 meters.