Finding new Bolt could take 20 years-Quarrie

  2008-08-25 01:45:11 GMT    2008-08-25 09:45:11 (Beijing Time)

  Jamaican coach Don Quarrie said on Thursday it may take the Caribbean island another 20 years to produce an athlete like double sprint gold medallist Usain Bolt “but we will”.

  He insisted Bolt, celebrating his 22nd birthday on Thursday, had not been showboating when he won the 100 metres and was not being disrespectful to other runners, an accusation levelled at him by International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge.

  Revelling in Jamaica’s rich sprinting tradition that has now been converted into gold at the Beijing Games, Quarrie said: “The seed has been sown now. I am sure there are kids running around in Jamaica wanting to be Usain Bolt.”

  “Now that Usain Bolt has done this, it may take us another 20 years to produce an athlete as outstanding as him―but we will,” he told reporters.

  Quarrie certainly was speaking as the voice of experience. He is the last man, back in the 1970s, to hold both the 100m and 200m world records simultaneously, like Bolt now does after his Bird’s Nest wins.

  Rogge hailed Bolt, saying he was now on a par with great U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens but he called on the Jamaican to show more respect to his fellow competitors.

  Rogge was referring to Bolt’s effortless 100m win on Saturday in 9.69 seconds when he pounded his chest before crossing the finishing line.

  Quarrie defended his compatriot, saying his celebrations were just youthful high spirits.

  “There was no showboating on his part,” Quarrie said.

  “Usain, being a young man, is still maturing. He was just enthusiastic, very happy. There was never any animosity. It came from within. What he does―there is nothing negative for the sport. He was just so overwhelmed at what was going on.

  “He is funny, playful, happy and that is what came out after he ran.”

  Quarrie, watching a race that must have stirred up so memories for a former Olympic champion, never had a moment’s doubt that “Lightning” Bolt would win Wednesday’s 200m.

  “As soon as he took the first step, I knew he would win,” Quarrie said.

  Asked what the chances were now of Bolt switching to the 400m, Quarrie said: “I am not his coach. Usain will do what he wants to when he wants to.”