KINGSTON — The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt has revealed that he came close to giving up sprinting in 2006 when he was booed by Jamaican fans for pulling out of a race injured.
The star, who was only 19 at the time, began his leg of a 4 x 400m race at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, but soon had to stop after pulling his hamstring.
As he limped off the track, some home fans decided to boo him. Some even shouted that he’d simply given up because he knew he wasn’t going to win.
In an extract from his new book, Faster than Lightning: My Autobiography, serialised in The Times, Bolt described how the incident left him questioning his ability as a top-level sprinter and his desire to continue his promising career.
Bolt wrote: “Honestly, I had never imagined a time when a Jamaican crowd — my own people that had cheered me on so loudly when I’d won the World Junior Championships in 2002 — would boo me as I came off the Kingston track.
“Forgot the pulled hamstring, this was pain on another level. I was only 19, and the criticism hit me hard.
“First of all I questioned my ability: I’m not good enough for this sport… I questioned the Jamaican fans: Wow, I got booed in front of my national crowd when I was giving it my best.
“Then it got worse: Three years ago I started this life. Three years I’ve been injured. Is this really working? Should I really continue? All these things that I do, no matter how hard I try, this might not be for me. This track-and-field thing is tough…”
Luckily for the world of athletics, a chat with his coach Glen Mills was enough for Bolt to see sense and continue on his way to becoming the world’s fastest man.