Usain Bolt, the 3-time Olympic champion, is back in the news again following the first major success of his football career. The eight-time gold medalist has been looking to excel in a new athletic avenue since his retirement from sprinting.
Bolt is playing for the A-league Central Coast Mariners, a team in Australia’s top Football division, and celebrated his triumph with his trademark celebratory stance from his sprinting days. He even wore No.45, as a reference to his 100m record time of 9.58 seconds at the London Olympics in 2012.
Bolt is following in the footsteps of numerous athletic superstars who have tried their hands at other sports. An aspiring cricket star in his youth, he is now attempting to excel in an avenue outside his comfort zone. Bolt hasn’t yet signed an official contract, yet there is a high chance he will sign with a club, if not the Mariners. And as we saw with Michael Jackson’s baseball career, it is often difficult to turn down a former sports icon.
The star said on the Mariner’s website:
“The coach told me you will get chances, don’t get frustrated if you miss, it’s part of the game. You’ve got to continue pushing till you get those chances.”
In this preseason encounter between the Mariners and Macarthur South West united, Bolt narrowly missed on a header in the first half before nudging his way past a defender to score with a low, powerful shot in the 55th minute. Bolt then doubled his money in the 69th minute due to a miscommunication between the opposing defender and goalkeeper.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) October 12, 2018
Unaccustomed to long periods of required endurance, the former Jamaican sprinter struggled with stamina issues but didn’t leave the pitch until the 75th minute. This was his first contribution to his team, following only a short 20-minute debut in another preseason encounter on August 31st.
This is still a preseason for the Mariners, whose regular season doesn’t begin until October 19th. He joined the team for training in mid August, amid a media news frenzy, and has slowly honed his footballing skills. However, as the Hyundai A league season approaches at months end, the club is still unsure if the Mariners will extend Bolt’s “indefinite training period.”
Maybe his two goals on Friday night will quicken up the decision-making process.
In a news report for Fox Sports, Bolt told the press:
“I think I made some slight mistakes but I’m just happy to get the chance and I’m proud of myself… Scoring a goal in your first proper match is a big deal. It was a good feeling.”