Usain Bolt runs through 'I Am Bolt,' new biodoc on his life
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Usain Bolt is now a movie star. He refuses to say he's an actor. Such a distinction is important for the Jamaican sprinting great and nine-time Olympic champion. Until his competitive career ends next year, Bolt will continue playing only one role - that of the world's fastest man, who beat the odds to acquire immense fame and fortune on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in global sport.
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Usain Bolt is now a movie star. He refuses to say he's an actor.
Such a distinction is important for the Jamaican sprinting great and nine-time Olympic champion. Until his competitive career ends next year, Bolt will continue playing only one role - that of the world's fastest man, who beat the odds to acquire immense fame and fortune on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in global sport.
As such, it's not a made-for-Hollywood version of himself that takes center stage in the documentary I Am Bolt, being released Monday. As the title wants viewers to believe, the Bolt who is in the film is the same one that his friends, family, and other members of his close-knit inner sanctum have seen for as long as they've known him.
"I wasn't an actor," Bolt said. "I wasn't trying to push a different person forward."
I Am Bolt is a behind-the-scenes view of the superstar that took about two years to make and has him holding the camera at times. The main idea is Bolt's quest for the so-called triple-triple - three gold medals in three events at three consecutive Olympics, something no sprinter in the history of the sport had ever accomplished. He pulled it off, to little surprise, at the Rio Games.
And then he could finally exhale, knowing this film would have the perfect ending.
"Oh, my God, you have no idea the pressure that I was under," Bolt said in a recent interview with the Associated Press as the production was winding down. "But I live for these moments. I love the pressure. And I have all the confidence in myself and my coach and the team I have that it would come true for me. The pressure was there, but the confidence was always there - which made it much easier."
Bolt agreed to make this film after realizing he would be able to convince his fans and detractors that what they see on the track - a free-spirited showman who tries to be stoic and serious only when absolutely necessary - is what they would get if they tagged along with him on a typical day.
He shows off some of the spoils of his life, whether it's the party scene or traveling or enjoying luxury. He also shows how all that is possible, with 5:30 a.m. workouts that he groaned through and the rigors of what's needed to keep an elite athlete in top physical condition.
"I live a simple life, you know what I mean?" Bolt said. "One of the things that made me really want to do this was people always saying: 'Aw, this is not really who he is. He's not always laughing. It's not always fun for him.' This is who I am. I really wanted to show people this is who I am. I like to have fun. I like to chill. I like to go out. That's just a part of me. The part that people don't see, that's the part I want to show people behind the scenes, the hard work."
There are also some moments where that megawatt smile isn't present. Yes, even Usain Bolt can have a tough day.
"You have to ask yourself, 'Why am I doing this?' I've done everything. I've done it many times," Bolt said. "I have nothing else to prove."
Not now, he doesn't.
The triple-triple was the capper to a storied Olympic career. He's the world record-holder in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and he anchored the fastest 4x100-meter relay in world history, as well. But without those three golds from Rio de Janeiro, Bolt would have felt unfulfilled.
"I wanted to be one of the greatest," Bolt said. "I wanted to be among the greats. Without this Olympics, I would be great, yes. But I don't think I would be in the bracket of Muhammad Ali, Pele, and the great footballers. That's what I want."
Bolt's plan is for the world championships next year in London to be his final meet.
From there, who knows?