Q&A with Usain Bolt: Protests, doping scandals, post-track life ... and wings

ByESPN.COM STAFF via <a href="http://espn.go.com/" title="ESPN" class="espn_sc_byline">ESPN </a>
September 23, 2016, 7:40 PM

&#151; -- ESPN.com caught up with Jamaican track star and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, who visited the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut, on Friday. Here are some snippets from the conversation:

Question from ESPN.com: You've mentioned many times over the past few months that the Rio Olympics will be your last Olympics. So, still the same? No Tokyo?

Answer from Usain Bolt: No, definitely not. Rio would be my last Olympics.

Q: Will the IAAF 2017 World Championships in London be your last hurrah?

A: That's what I keep saying, but my coach keeps telling me not to say that because he wants me to continue [to compete] because he thinks I can do more if I want. He says, 'Wait until the end of the season to decide,' but I really want to retire after [the season].

Q: What do you want to do after you retire?

A: I have a lot of things in the pipeline right now. One of the main things is to do as much around track and field as possible, because I think the sport needs the help to continue to motivate athletes. Also, in Jamaica, through my foundation, I want to develop a clinic for the younger kids so, when they get injured, it can be cheaper [to get treatment], and help them get off to a better start to go to the professional level.

Q: How much have the recent doping scandals, with the recent developments in Russia leading into Rio and track overall, affected the accomplishments of elite athletes?

A: I think it's rough for sports in general. I always say, you have to get to the worst to get better, and I think the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] and WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] are doing a good job now in cleaning up the sport. This is why it is so bad at this point, but now, because they are so aggressive with what they are doing ... Yes, it's bad, but it's a good thing they are actually doing this so the sport can get into a better light in the near future.

Q: What role do you play in that process?

A: I will try to stay as close to the sport [as I can], because I've already proved you can do it clean. If I can stay [involved] with the sport, we can find different ways to motivate people and preach to them and explain to them that all they need is dedication to the sport.

Q: What is your take on the conversation that is happening right now in this country around Colin Kaepernick and the recent protests?

A: Everyone has the right to their own opinion. If you feel strongly about something and you want to voice your opinion, I feel it's your right, so, that's how I look at it because that's how life is.

Q: Is that something you will get involved in, before or after retirement?

A: No, for me, I stay as far away from politics as possible, or any controversy. I try to live my life to the best, but I just always preach that you should just work hard and do your best ... I try to stay as far away from that as possible.

Q: Who is the next Usain Bolt?

A: It's hard to say, but I hope it's going to be a Jamaican. Yohan Blake has proven himself that he can be great, so I hope he can be that person. ... Andre De Grasse is going to be a great contender, but like I said, I hope it's going to be a Jamaican [smiles]. But De Grasse is going to be a great athlete.

Q: Who is the best Olympian of all time?

A: I would love to go with me [laughs]. There's a lot of great Olympians, but for me, I try to prove myself as one of the best -- and that's the key thing. I want to be one of the greatest athletes ever to live, not only in track and field, but in all of general sport.

Q: Would you trade in all of your Olympic gold medals for a chance to play for Manchester United in a Premier League match?

A: No, no, I couldn't do that. ... It's a lot of hard work to get nine Olympic [gold] medals! I couldn't do that. No. It's tempting, but no.

Q: Favorite meal? And not necessarily an in-training meal.

A: My favorite thing is always wings. That is my guilty pleasure.

Q: How many wings did you eat after the Olympics were over?

A: I actually had nuggets and mostly Asian food when I was at the Olympics [laughs]. But as soon as I got back to Jamaica, or when I was in London, I had a lot of wings. That was the first thing I asked for -- "Hey, get me some wings."

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