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What Bolt’s coach hated about this photo

At the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 there was one image which became instantly iconic.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt stormed home to an easy first-place finish in the men’s 100 metre semi-final, but just before the end of the race he turned to his Canadian rival Andre De Grasse and with the world watching on, he flashed a cheeky ear-to-ear grin.

The picture-perfect moment was captured by Getty Images and quickly went viral online around the world.

But in looking back at his career, the now retired Bolt has exclusively revealed to Wide World of Sports that his coach might not have been all too pleased with the charismatic Olympian’s showmanship.

“My coach hates when I look around,” Bolt said.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles as he looks at Andre De Grasse in the Men’s 100 metre semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympics (Getty)

In a new Apple documentary ‘Greatness Code’, Bolt said that every time he raced he took in every minute fragment and remarkably it never felt fast to him at all, even his 9.58-second 100 metre world record time set in 2009. And that was no different at the Olympics.

“When I run big races, I tend to remember the whole journey because I know it’s going to be intense. It’s something that I’ve always done through my life,” he said.

“I remember every metre. Every 10 metres I remember what was going on, what was going through my head, and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say it’s something that I miss, but I do miss the crowds – the energy of the crowds.”

Cameron Spencer’s iconic Usain Bolt photo from Rio 2016. (Getty)

Throughout his athletics career Bolt always treated his races like a performance art. He’d wind up the crowd, interact playfully with race officials, and even joke around with his opponents.

While other athletes appeared stern-faced and locked into their game plan, ready to attack each stride with pinpoint precision and breakneck speed, Bolt always looked as relaxed as a tourist that had spent the afternoon on an idyllic Jamaican beach, and was more than willing to dance, strike his signature ‘To Di World’ pose and celebrate with those in the grandstands after yet another win.

It highlighted the incredible talent he had – to be so good he could simply just be in the moment.

Usain Bolt kisses his 100m gold medal from Rio 2016. (Getty)

It’s that infectious charm and unshakeable confidence that, along with his unbelievable achievements, made Bolt a bonafide fan favourite in every continent he visited.

He said there was a good reason for engaging with people around him like he did.

“It helped me to relax,” Bolt explained.

“My coaches always explained to me that when you’re on the track, when you’re in the moment, you can’t do anything else. It’s when you’re in training you do all the work. So when I’m on the track I’m not trying to think about, ‘Oh am I ready?’ I just needed to execute.

“I wanted people to see my personality and my energy. That’s who I am as a person.”

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist retired after the 2017 World Championships after a stunning career that now has him classed by many as the ‘G.O.A.T’ of track and field.

The ‘Greatest Of All Time’ is a huge pedestal to be put on in sport, but it’s not one that Bolt shies away from. In ‘Greatness Code’ he relishes being featured alongside other top athletes such as Kelly Slater, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Katie Ledecky, Shaun White and Alex Morgan.

“I’ve worked hard to be with the greats. I’m happy to be a part of this,” he said.

“When you work this hard and you’re among LeBron and Tom Brady and all these guys, it’s magnificent. I think I’m at the ‘G.O.A.T’ table – I’d say yes.”

Usain Bolt doing the ‘To Di World’ pose after winning the 100m at London 2012. (Getty)

When it comes to talk of Bolt’s hero Michael Johnson though, the former world champion becomes slightly more modest, unwilling to say if he has surpassed the American legend and if Bolt’s accomplishments and records will ever be beaten.

“I won’t say yes,” he said.

“One of the biggest things I wanted to do was win three Olympics back-to-back and I’ve done it. I want to set the bar so high for the next person who comes along that they have to work really hard; harder than I worked to get to the level they need to get to.

“You never know [if I’ll be surpassed]. The possibility is there.

“I don’t want it but it would be great to see somebody in track and field, because track and field needs great athletes, so if somebody comes along in 20 years from now and surpassed [me], I’ll be okay.”

Usain Bolt was always a fan favourite around the world (Getty)

Right now the man that threatens to take the 33-year-old’s 100-metre world record is American Christian Coleman. Bolt was beaten by Coleman in the 100-metre semi-final at the IAAF World Championships in London in 2017, which famously ended the Jamaican’s 45-race winning streak.

Bolt did not doubt Coleman’s ability on the track however he did question how long he could stick around at the top, with a subtle parting message for those that dare challenge the fastest man on earth.

“He’s proven himself. We have raced together in the last year of my career so I know he has the talent,” Bolt said.

“But for me it’s always about proving yourself again and again – that’s the hard part. You always find guys that pop up one season, do well, and two seasons later they’re not where they’re supposed to be. So for me, I want to watch and see who wants it.

“There’s a few people that I do look and see they have talent, they could do good, but I’ve learned over the years to not pick, but to just watch. I’ve seen at least three athletes that I admire and can say they could do great things on the track.”

Usain Bolt spoke exclusively to Wide World of Sports on behalf of Apple TV+ for the release of the documentary ‘Greatness Code’, now available via theĀ Apple TV app and online.

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