(Reuters) - Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt has set his sights on defending his three titles at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro rather than switching to another event, the six-times gold medalist said on Monday.
The 26-year-old Jamaican said his coach would like him to take up the 400 meters and Bolt, wary of up-and-coming sprinters like teammate Yohan Blake, has spoken of trying the long jump.
Bolt said he had reached “legend” status after becoming the first man to retain both the 100 and 200 meters Olympic titles at the London Games and that he needed to make another goal.
“It’s all about going in and trying to defend my titles. I don’t want to try any different event at Rio,” Bolt said at a promotional event in Auckland.
“Rio is just to defend my titles to show the world the possibility that I can do it again, the ‘three-peat’,” added the sprinter, who also retained his 4x100 relay gold medal with a world-record run inside London’s Olympic Stadium.
Speculation was rife after the Olympics that Bolt could change disciplines while the sprinter himself said he wanted to try his hand at professional football or cricket.
Bolt has cemented himself as the greatest sprinter following on from American Carl Lewis, who like Bolt claimed back-to-back Olympic 100 titles and was also a four-time long jump gold medalist, dominating the event from 1984 to 1996.
Bolt said his heart was still with athletics.
”I was doing great from when I was young so people were saying I was fast for my age but I’ve put a lot of work into it since I’ve been a senior athlete.
“For me that’s the focus right now, I don’t know how fast I can go but I’ll definitely try and go faster every year.”
The Jamaican added competing for himself above his country has helped him overcome the nerves and expectation that have followed him since his crowning moment at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“If you go out thinking ‘I’ve got to do this for the country’ then it becomes bigger because then millions of people go on your shoulders,” said Bolt. (Writing by Tom Pilcher in London, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)