Ep. 21: Usain Bolt goes digital

October 01, 2021

Digital sports memorabilia keeps getting bigger, and more sports heroes are getting into the game. So, it’s no surprise that sprinting legend Usain Bolt is joining the party.

On October 5 and 7, Bolt’s first line of NFTs, a form of digital sports memorabilia, go up for sale, via Autograph.io and DraftKings Marketplace.

At the end of September I got to chat with Usain Bolt for the second time in 2021, right after he landed in Germany to sign autographs and meet with fans. Talking over Zoom, we discussed his new NFT line and partnership with Autograph, the NFT firm co-founded by NFL legend Tom Brady.

“When Tom and everybody at Autograph approached my team, I was happy, because I know this is the way things are going and that everything is going online.”

Usain Bolt thinks that NFTs can be a great way for sports fans to feel connected to their favorite athletes and collect sports memorabilia in the digital age.

And while you’ve probably heard about some NFTs—from fine art to celebrity items—going for ridiculous prices in the tens of thousands, Bolt’s first line of digital collectibles starts at $12 to $100.

During our Zoom chat, we also talked about Bolt’s love of soccer and Manchester United, as well as his take on German food and video games.

Being coachable made Bolt a legend

I first got to talk with Usain Bolt in July 2021, as the Tokyo Summer Olympics were approaching. I asked what made him so great, and was surprised to hear him talk about listening—and being vulnerable and coachable.

In the second half of Episode 21—our interview from July 2021, right before the Tokyo Olympics—Bolt says training to his limit and hitting the weights helped transform him into the Olympic legend he is, starting with his breakout in 2008. But it took a string of so-so performances—and silver medals— in 2008 world championship competitions to get him in the right mind frame.

“I personally wanted to win in ‘07. I thought I was ready, but afterward, my coach told me straight that I didn’t win because I wasn’t well prepared.”

At the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, Bolt got beat by American sprinter Tyson Gay in the 200m. On top of that, Bolt and Team Jamaica also came in 2nd place in the 4x100m relay, again bested by the U.S.

But by the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Bolt was ready. More than ready, honestly. Listening to his coach about training harder as well as working on his stance and starting position, helped immensely.

At Beijing, Bolt put in a set of incredible performances, and made history, winning gold in the 100m, setting a new 100m world record of 9.69 seconds.

In Episode 21 of the podcast, you can hear Usain Bolt talk about his early days as a runner, and what he worked on in practice to get better and better. He also says keeping a cool, calm head made him win his eight Olympic gold medals.

Read my interviews with Usain Bolt from July 2021 and September 2021.

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