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04th-Dec-2016

Usain Bolt named IAAF Athlete of the Year for the sixth time

By Agency



Looking back at his astonishing career on the night he was named Athlete of the Year for the sixth time, Usain Bolt said his only real regret was not taking his sport more seriously at an earlier age.
"Maybe I would have been at four Olympics," the superstar Jamaican sprinter told reporters on Friday before being crowned IAAF male Athlete of the Year again on the back of his amazing Rio de Janeiro Games sprint triple-triple in August.
"The award is definitely a big deal, it proves all the hard work has paid off," he said after Olympic 10,000 meters champion and world record holder Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia took the women's equivalent. "The fans helped vote for this and it's for the fans I keep doing it."
With nine Olympic golds in the drawer, Bolt plans to hang up his spikes next year after a farewell tour of his favourite venues. He will run the 100 meters only before competing at the world championships in London where he will be gunning for his 12th and 13th world titles if he goes in the relay.
"When I look back the only real thing I think I would change was to have got more serious more quickly," said Bolt. "I was relying more on my talent. If I'd got more serious I think I would have done a lot more in my career. It's shocking but it's true. Maybe if I'd started younger I'd have had four Olympics."
Despite his multiple titles and world records, Bolt said the race that would always have a particular place in his heart was the world junior championships in his home country when he won the 200 as a 15-year-old. "That was special," he said. "That was the beginning. Jamaica 2002, where it all began. That was the biggest step." However, it was a defeat five years later that made the biggest impact. Bolt took the 200 silver behind American Tyson Gay at the 2007 Osaka world championships and it was a real wake-up call. "After I lost I remember going to my coach saying, 'I really tried my best but what can I do to win because I really need to win?'," Bolt explained.
"He said: 'You're slacking off in the gym. If you want to win you have to get stronger.' So I was like 'alright'. I knew what I needed to do and from then I took the step and just worked and worked."