LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 6 – Usain Bolt rightly describes himself as a legend but while his natural ability brought him that status it was his parents who moulded him into the winning personality he became.
Fun-loving, easy-going and a showman but with a remorseless competitive edge, both on and off the track, Bolt also has a sensitive side to him which extends particularly to his mother Jennifer.
“The only thing that can make me cry is my mum,” he told The Guardian last year.
“If I disappoint her or upset her or we’re not speaking, or something goes wrong, then I cry. I am a mummy’s boy.”
One instance where his mother played a crucial role was when she went to his aid when he was crying in the changing rooms ahead of the 2002 world junior championships in Kingston, Jamaica.
“When I talked with him, he stopped crying. He said, ‘Okay, mommy. I’m going to do my best,'” she told Heavy.com.
There were no tears on Saturday despite Bolt suffering a shock defeat in the 100m final at the world championships as Justin Gatlin gatecrashed his last appearance in an individual sprint.
But his legend remains intact. He won the 100m at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics as well as the 200m in those same years.
Bolt was also 100m world champion in 2009, 2013 and 2015; 200m champion in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
For good measure, he set the 100m world record of 9.58sec in 2009 and the 200m best of 19.19sec in the same year.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t end it on a winning note, but I want to thank you for your support,” said Bolt after his defeat on Saturday. “It’s been a wonderful experience as always.”
Bolt, who described going through dark times when he attended the crash scene where his close friend, Britain’s 2008 Olympic silver high jump medallist Germaine Mason, died earlier this year in Jamaica, says his father Wellesley treated him differently to his mother during his childhood.
Money was tight but Bolt’s parents ensured he did not want for anything.
Wellesley, who fathered two older children with two other women, was not averse to paying surprise visits to his son’s school to make sure he was not missing training and playing video games in the arcades instead.
Wellesley and Jennifer continue to live in the same house in Sherwood Content in Jamaica where Bolt senior runs a shop.
He says he thinks his son appreciates having had a firm hand of discipline when he was growing up.
“I told him, ‘It’s difficult to find money to send you to school’,” Wellesley told Heavy.com.
“He was wasting that (by going to play in the arcades). He didn’t like it. But now he says I’m the best father. He said if I was the type of father who let him do that, probably he wouldn’t be where he is now.”
Aside from ensuring that Bolt did not go off the straight and narrow as a child his parents also took on perhaps the man he considers as his second father — business manager Norman Peart.
Over 15 years he has ensured that the music-loving, some-time DJ, can look forward to a lifelong party, should he wish it to be, without worrying about money.
It was Peart, who went to the same school as Bolt, who approved the runner’s lucrative deal with kit supplier Puma and whose shrewd investments and organising other sponsorship deals helped the superstar make an estimated $32 million last year.
Peart was also entrusted with looking after Bolt when he left home aged 15 for the bright lights of Kingston.
Although he says he “slipped occasionally”, he was essentially conscientious and always went home for Christmas, a ‘red line’ demand for his family.
Peart told The Jamaican Gleaner that Bolt is a ‘a nice, kind-hearted person who loves to help people”.
Bolt says that he owes his extraordinary life to his parents and Peart.
“The teamwork and understanding between them shaped my life,” he said.
“Being the meanest person I know (he says laughing with regard to Peart), I know my finances are in good hands.
“What I admire about him (Peart) is that he will tell me as it is and he pays strict attention to me being financially secure after I hang up my spikes.”