Usain Bolt: “I would like to try soccer after I retire”

The world's fastest man on new year celebrations, cricket and his love of football

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What’s New Year like in the Bolt household?

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I will visit my parents (Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt). They live in the country in Jamaica and it’s always good to go home and spend some relaxing times with my family. My mum will do the cooking, and we don’t normally go out anywhere, we just spend time at home, hanging out with family and friends.

You don’t even go out on New Year’s Eve?

I usually stay at home and invite some friends to visit.

So do you eat, drink or train?

Eat. But it’s very traditional, different from British dinners. In Jamaica we normally eat chicken, rice and peas and drink sorrel. I really like Jamaican food – jerk chicken and pork, rice and peas, oxtail, curry goat, crab, shrimp. When I’m in Europe I eat a lot of Chinese food, but it’s nice to get home and have proper Jamaican cooking made by my mum.

Where’s home?

Home for me is now Kingston, but my real home is Trelawny, in the north of Jamaica. I was born in Sherwood Content, a small town in Trelawny.

What are you watching on TV?

I don’t watch much, but when I do, my favourite show is Top Gear. I also love to watch Manchester United. We get all the Premier League games in Jamaica. Christmas and New Year is an important time in the football season – I’m looking forward to a good run of results for Ferguson’s boys over the holiday period.

Films or video games?

Both. I have two favourite films – Taken starring Liam Neeson and Gladiator with Russell Crowe, and when it comes to video games, right now it’s Call of Duty: Black Ops.

What music do you like to listen to before a race?

I like reggae, dancehall and hip hop. I usually listen to [controversial dancehall artist] Vybz Kartel to get me in the mood, but my coach doesn’t allow me to listen to music when I’m training.

What would you be if you weren’t the fastest man in the world?

I used to play a lot of cricket at school and if I hadn’t been an athlete I would probably have been a cricketer. I played a charity game a couple of years ago and bowled out my friend [and former West Indies captain] Chris Gayle. When I was young, I didn’t really think about anything other than sports. I was a supporter of Pakistan as a kid and loved the bowling of Waqar Younis.

What about playing for Manchester United?

I would like to try soccer after I retire. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to play for the team at some level – you never know. I’m quick, anyway, though I might have to refine my skills and do a little bit more work in the gym to get myself physically ready for it.

2012 is Olympics year, of course. Who’s the athlete to watch from Team GB, and why?

I would have to say Mo Farah, based on what he did in 2011. He did great in the World Championships in Daegu. The long-distance races are extremely competitive and he was able to win against some of the best Kenyan and Ethiopian talent in the world.

Any New Year resolutions? Can’t imagine you want to slow down…

I’m not sure yet how many events I will run in at the Olympics, but my aim is to defend my Olympic titles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. I want to do wild things at this Olympics. That’s my focus. I want, at the end of the Games, for people to sit down and say, “Did that really happen?”

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This is an edited version of an article from the issue of Radio Times magazine that went on sale 23 December 2011.