Usain Bolt, who could be featuring in his last Olympics, has made a good recovery from the hamstring injury and is all set for the Rio games.
How does the mom of Usain Bolt help the world’s fastest man keep his cool?
“We say things that will make him laugh,” said Jennifer Bolt as her sprinter star offspring faces down what just may be his last Olympics.
At nearly 30, Bolt has six Olympic gold medals from the Beijing and London Olympics. Though he withdrew July 1 from Jamaica’s national meet with a slight tear in his left hamstring, the world record holder in the 100- and 200-meter dash proved his fitness July 22 in the 200 at the London Anniversary Games and deemed himself good to go for Rio.
A few days before the London event, his mom visited New York and said in an interview that she wasn’t worried, having long ago learned that calming her own nerves was the best way to soothe Usain.
“I know he’s going to get well and everything will be OK for the games,” said the soft-spoken Jennifer, who has been cheering him on since his speed first surfaced around 12 or 13.”
Usain has come back from injuries before, including left hamstring problems. When it happened in 2004 at what was supposed to be his first Olympics, in Athens, he didn’t make it past the first round. He was just 17.
“It was a bit scary because we didn’t really understand and know what it was,” Jennifer said. “He had wanted so much to be at the Olympics and he just couldn’t make it.”
Jennifer and Usain’s dad, Wellesley, live in the same village along Jamaica’s northern coast where they ran a general store during his youth. They’ve been helping him, Jennifer said, “not get nervous” since 2002, when at age 15 he debuted at the World Junior Championships in Kingston.
He won the 200-meter — and that was the beginning for the 6-foot-5 sprinter, who had never been away from his parents or his modest village of Sherwood Content in Trelawny Parish before he left for Kingston to train professionally.