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What will Olympic champion Usain Bolt do next? The long jump, Manchester United and now cricket...

By Simon Rice

When Usain Bolt became a double triple Olympic gold medallist at London 2012, the world was his oyster, and so it seems, is any sport.

The Jamaican sprinter won the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres at this summer's Olympics, but at the age of 26 there are question marks over whether he will be able to repeat the feat at the Rio Games, or will even attempt to do so.

Immediately after his golden displays at the Olympic Stadium, there were suggestions that Bolt could switch to the long jump event for Rio. US athletics legend Carl Lewis proved that sprinting and jumping a long way are compatible back in the 80s and 90s.

But then there were rumours of a more ridiculous kind when it was claimed Bolt could be given a trial at Manchester United. Sure, his pace would be a threat, but surely there's more to football than that? Despite this story obviously being a nonsense, it didn't stop Bolt, who is a Red Devils fan, making an appearance at Old Trafford earlier this season. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also suggested Bolt could appear in a charity match next year.

"[Usain is] a bit of a character and a big United fan," said Ferguson. "But it's interesting he says he would like to play in a charity game. It could be brilliant, and next year, when we play Real Madrid's Legends again, there could be opportunities to bring him in and see how he does."

Not content with perhaps representing England's most successful football team, Bolt has now been linked with a possible switch to cricket.

It was reported that Australian spin great Shane Warne contacted Bolt about joining him at the Melbourne Stars club in the Twenty20 league in December. Now the West Indies' opening batsman Chris Gayle, a close friend of the sprinter, has fuelled the rumour that we could see Bolt exchange the baton for a bat.

"He wouldn't embarrass himself. In a charity game, he actually played against me and almost knocked my head off with a good competitive bouncer," Gayle told reporters as he warmed up for the World Twenty 20 in Sri Lanka.

"It is nothing to take lightly. I don't see anything wrong," he added.

If all that fails, Bolt could always spin records rather the cricket balls. The sprinter is an avid DJ and made a couple of appearances in London's east end during London 2012.

Belfast Telegraph


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