BIRMINGHAM (GBR) – IAAF President Sebastian Coe spoke with AIPS young reporters and among the issues, was replacing track and field legend Usain Bolt.
“You don’t replace Usain Bolt. So what do we need from the athletes? We need the athletes to be more accessible. We need to make sure that we are telling their stories properly. I have a working proposition that to find people to fill Usain Bolt’s shoes where the performance is the passport that gets you to the championship,” he said.
According to Wikipedia, Bolt is the first person to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time became mandatory. He also holds the world record as a part of the 4 × 100 metres relay. He is the reigning Olympic champion in these three events.
An eight-time Olympic gold medalist, Bolt won the 100m, 200m and 4 × 100m relay at three consecutive Olympic Games, although he subsequently forfeited one of the gold medals (as well as the world record set therein) nine years after the fact due to a teammate’s disqualification for doping offences.
An eleven-time World Champion, he won consecutive World Championship 100m, 200m and 4 × 100 metres relay gold medals from 2009 to 2015, with the exception of a 100 m false start in 2011.
“You then need promotion and that needs to be done by the federation, by us or by helping the athletes to get in the right media environment to tell their stories,” continued Coe.
“It’s not because Usain Bolt has won a lot of Olympic medals or his world records that has made him to what he is. That is fantastic, but that’s not what has captured the imagination of the public around.
“They like the showmanship, they like the fact that he’s got a personality. We need the promotion, but we really need the athletes to allow their own personality to come through.”