Usain Bolt will only step up to the 400m if it is what he needs to become an athletics legend – but is in no danger of losing his hunger for shorter sprints he announced yesterday.
Instead, the Jamaican, the 100 and 200m Olympic and world champion and world record holder, wants to continue his domination of those two events. "I don't want to do 400m," he said. "A lot of people want me to but I don't want to do it. But if I have to do it I guess I will do it," said Bolt, who plans to run a 300 next month in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
"If it takes that for me to become a legend in the sport I guess I will but otherwise I wouldn't want to do it."
Asked what put him off running the 400, he said: "Training. It's very hard."
Rather the 23-year-old's focus is on defending his titles at the 2012 Games in London. Bolt set world records of 9.69secs over 100 and 19.30secs over 200 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, before lowering those time to 9.58 and 19.19 at the World Championships in Berlin last year.
"I definitely want to defend my titles," he said. "A lot of people have just won one title, I think defending that title is very important. For me, if you continue dominating over the years you can become one of the greatest ever.
"If I can dominate four, five, six years over the 100m then I can make myself a legend." Bolt, who races in the 4x100m at the 114th Penn Relays in Philadelphia today, will run his first individual 100m of the year on 19 May in Daegu, South Korea, the venue for next year's World Championships. With no global championships this year, and Bolt not yet decided on whether to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October, the Jamaican's chief focus will be on the inaugural Diamond League season.
He will make his Diamond League debut in Shanghai on 23 May and also race in New York, Paris and Brussels. In the latter in August he will compete against both of his two main rivals, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.
"We have nothing else big to look forward to so I think the clashes are very good for us this season and good for the sport," he said. "Diamond league is very important for me this year because there are no championships."
Bolt is not expecting any more records this season, though. "For me this year I'm not really focused on times," he added. "I'm not trying to do much this season. We're just trying to take things as easy as possible, trying to get through this season injury-free and stay unbeaten. If I need to run fast to win I'll do that, but I'm just trying to take it as easy as possible."
That is not to say Bolt does not think he can go any faster. He has already identified areas of his 100m which he feels can be improved. "My start. My execution," he said. "Stop looking around maybe."
He may not fancy the 400 at the moment, but there is one other event Bolt wants to give a go. "Long jump," he said. "At the end of my career, just before I retire."