“I Got to Do Everything”: How Michael Johnson Gave Usain Bolt Closure on Retirement From Track

Published 10/07/2021, 2:56 AM EDT


Bidding goodbye to a decade-old career is never an easy thing to do. Not just for laymen, but even for legendary athletes and sports entities, retirement can be tough. Speaking of the same renowned track athlete, Michael Johnson spoke to sprinting legend, Usain Bolt, about how he felt after quitting his career in athletics.

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Michael Johnson is an iconic sprinter who specialized in events like 100m, 200m, 300m as well as 400m. Over the course of time, he managed to win 56 World Championships and 4 Olympic gold medals.

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With his outstanding performances in all these events, the American successfully created national and world records in 200m and 400m races. Showcasing his talent to the entire world with the highest level of consistency for over 14 years, he’s indeed an inspirational figure to look up to.

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What did Johnson say to Bolt?

Usain Bolt, wildly regarded as the fastest man alive, retired from the track in 2017. Post his retirement, he pursued his other interest such as being a professional football player to even producing a music album, hoping to bag a Grammy someday. However, when the 35-year-old Jamaican approached the former legend, Michael Johnson, they had quite an intriguing conversation.

World champion sprinter Michael Johnson of the U.S. speaks during the Doha GOALS Forum in Doha on December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad/Files

During an old interview, Johnson addressed the topic of having a disclosure with one’s career, post-retirement. He said, “The only reason I didn’t listen is that I was really fortunate in that I got to do everything that I wanted to do. I retired because I ran out of goals. I didn’t have any more goals. Because every year I had a goal like this is what I want to do this year and this year was something that was making history. Then after I’d done all that I could do, like I’m ready to let it go so I never really did miss it.

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The two living legends- Bolt and Michael Johnson

Even though both these remarkable figures retired from their respective events, they are still remembered as the greatest athletes of all time. Notably, Johnson had a world record in 200m, which was later broken by the Jamaican. In 400m too, Bolt successfully overtook the American to create new records for the world to remember.

Bolt’s records in 100m, as well as 200m, have remained untouched ever since he set them in 2009. No other athlete has been able to come close to his remarkable timing.

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BEIJING, CHINA – AUGUST 27: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200 metres final during day six of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 27, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

There is no doubt about the outstanding performances given by them, but as Johnson said that he was ready to let go of his career, Bolt should follow in his footsteps and move onto the next chapter in his life.

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Divya Chaturvedi

125 articles

Divya Chaturvedi is an Olympic Athletics author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing her Under Graduate degree in Psychology from the University of Delhi. She's also an internationally recognized athlete, specializing in Shot Put and Discus, representing India at the International Children's Games held in Australia has been one of the biggest feats in her endeavor so far. Having participated in The Road to Wimbledon and representing the state several times, she bagged a number of titles for the same.

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