I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who tuned into the Athletic Wold Championships on Saturday night to witness the curtain drawing down on one incredible glittering career...that of the one and only Usain Bolt. The end result may not have gone to script in London, however the sporting giant will certainly go down in history as the worlds best ever sprinter.
I also believe there are many things we as individuals, and the sport of rugby, can take away from the Jamaican’s career and his personality.
Firstly, to be successful we must be willing to take risks. As a world record holder, 11 time world champion and 8 time Olympic gold medallist, Usain could have easily ‘hung up the spikes’ with nothing left to prove. Yet, instead he wasn’t afraid to put all this on the line one last time despite looking vulnerable recently due to injuries. His bronze medal proved sport is not predetermined and doesn’t always produce the fairytale ending.
He was willing to take risks for himself, his fans and for the sport he loves – the signs of a true legend.
Secondly, Usain Bolt has always been extremely motivated and determined to reach his goals. In doing so he has dedicated his life to intense training and nutrition, making many sacrifices along the journey to reach the top.
However, when it comes to performing, he does so with charisma, style and an amazing sense of humour. He trains and plays with a constant smile on his face. He puts the hard work in but he also enjoys himself, and enjoys the moment. You could understand somebody of his stature, the fastest human on the planet, to maybe show a little arrogance or ego once in a while...but not Usain; a true gentleman who has time for everybody.
He’s a top professional and an outstanding role model.
So what does he have that rugby players of all levels could benefit from? Well, apart from all of the above, there's his incredible, lightning pace.
We may not have players hitting 9.58 seconds for 100 meters but speed is certainly a vital attribute required in rugby. In fact, in my opnion, speed often separates the great players from the good or average players. I recently attended a performance seminar at one of rugby’s most famous top British clubs and it was confirmed and re-emphasised that speed and explosive acceleration were the number one attributes that are looked for when scouting upcoming future stars or even in making big money news breaking signings!
So there you have it, take a leaf out of Bolt’s book (or Bible!) and lace up the boots or spikes and get sprinting. Oh, and bring that sort of charisma to the training ground and pitch and you'll undoubtedly see your team mates spirits’ lifted.