ROME, May 24 – The world's fastest man Usain Bolt revealed Tuesday he has put on some muscle in an attempt to stay ahead of the chasing pack.The 24-year-old Jamaican is making his return to the track for the first time in almost nine months at the Golden Gala meeting here, the third leg of the Diamond League series.
He has not competed since being beaten by American Tyson Gay in Stockholm at the beginning of August.
Bolt appeared bigger and more muscular than in the past but said he doesn’t yet know what affect his ripped physique will have on his times.
"I put a little bit more muscle on this season, I’ve been doing a lot of work strength-wise and core-wise and maybe that’s why I look fitter," he said.
"I’ll definitely see on Thursday (what difference it makes) because this is going to be the first race that I’m looking like this.
"I can’t really say (what time he’ll run) as I haven’t run all season.
"Normally I would’ve done a couple of races already (at this stage of the season) and I could determine what kind of time I could do.
"But I’ve been doing well in training so I’m hoping it will be a very good time."
It’s not just core strength that Bolt, the world and Olympic champion over 100m and 200m — and the 100m record holder in 9.58secs — has been working on during his long lay off. He also wants to improve his starts.
"Last season I didn’t take it as seriously but now I’m coming back and it’s taking time, but I’m getting there," he said.
"This season technique-wise, what really bothered me over the years was the first 30-metres.
"I’m very tall so I’ve been working on it, that’s the technical aspect to work on."
Bolt came into the press conference at the plush Villa Pamphili hotel in an Italy football shirt, inspiring some to suggest he resembled Italian striker Mario Balotelli, whose parents are Ghanaian.
"That’s the fourth time I’ve heard that this morning," joked the world record-holder over 100m and 200m, who nonetheless insisted he plans to take up a career in football after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
And the Manchester United fan also laughed off the comparison to a Manchester City player.
"Balotelli’s a great player, he’s a bit aggressive but it’s ok (being compared to him).
"When it comes to football I’m definitely serious. I’ve been a football fan for a lot of years now, I watched these guys playing and I think I can do a pretty good job.
"I want to try and see what I can do, I want to mix it with the (Wayne) Rooneys."
Bolt said he would be attending the Champions League final and laughed off a question about who he would be supporting.
"Is that a real question? Everybody knows I’m a Man U fan to the end and I think its going to be 2-1 to Man U.
"I’m really excited about going to the Champions League."
Being a global superstar and the star attraction at the meet Bolt can expect to be mobbed around town but he has a simple way of dealing with excess attention.
"So far it’s been really quiet, I’m a low key guy, I like my room and I have a Playstation so that’s it," he said.
"My privacy in Jamaica is ok because in Jamaica they’re like me, they’re laid back, they don’t pressure me so much.
"They do ask for pictures and autographs but not like when I come overseas. It’s perfect, they respect my privacy."
However, there is one type of attention the sprint king does seem to be keen to encourage.
"I had a dream last night," he said. "I dreamt I went out in Rome on Thursday (after the meet) and I found a very beautiful Italian, we got married and lived happily ever after."