In Depth

As Usain Bolt fuels retirement talk we should 'cherish' him

Jamaican sprint king says he is only 50-50 to make it to London in 2017 and could retire after Rio Olympics

Where would we be without Usain Bolt? A day after his 200m triumph and run-in with a Segway in Beijing the Jamaican sprinter is once again being hailed as the greatest ever, but we should "cherish" him while we can because his reign could come to an end sooner than expected.

The 29-year-old, who held off the challenge of Justin Gatlin to take gold in the 100m and 200m at the World Championships, had been widely expected to adbicate his throne in 2017, after the World Championships in London.

But it may be that his swansong comes a year earlier, at the Rio Olympics, says The Times.

"I really want to run in London," said Bolt after his sixth global title over 200m. "But I think the sport is not as fun as it used to be. It's more taxing... So it's 50-50."

Bolt now finds competing "much harder" than he used to, explains the paper. "He had been treated for problems arising from scoliosis since he was a teenager, but as he has got older, he has not been so keen on a lifestyle of ice baths, strict dieting and early nights. He says that the final decision about whether he will run in 2017 could come down to Glen Mills, his long-time coach."

Mills has warned Bolt against going to London if he is "not serious", but Sports Illustrated suggests there might be other factors influencing the decision. "Bolt's contract with Puma, reportedly worth $10m, runs through the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Upon his retirement, Bolt will be paid $4m per year as a Puma ambassador," it states.

Whatever he decides we should be grateful after another brilliant performance, says Tom Fordyce of the BBC.

"At times in the last few years Bolt has appeared to be a man on a greatest hits tour. The defining moments are in the past but the showmanship remains," he writes. "Except he is at number one once again. Ten World Championship gold medals now... six Olympic golds, Rio and the chance for three more less than 12 months away.

"It cannot keep going forever. The current end date is August 2017 and the next World Championships in London. The world records will probably sit untouched for a generation, but the man who set them will one day be gone. It is why we should cherish every victory, even as they seem inevitable, every little vignette as the cameras come searching for him before he goes to his blocks, every selfie-laden lap of honour."

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