A bemused sprint icon Usain Bolt has pointed out that his recent “say less, work harder” advice to US sprinter Sha’carri Richardson, was merely a response to an “aside” question posed by a New York Post reporter, during an interview which also included, among other things, his Country Yutes album.
Speaking during an interview with Television Jamaica’s Anthony Miller on Friday, Bolt said that he had simply obliged his NYPost interviewer by responding to the question along with the others he was asked. Bolt said that he does not know Sha’carri personally, and so any notion that he should give her a phone call, was bizarre, as the only place he has ever laid eyes on her, was on television.
“But I don’t know her, you understand,” Usain told Miller during Friday night’s airing of The Entertainment Report.
Usain reinforced the popular maxim that “working steam is not heard but the “the escaping steam makes a great noise” and doubled down on his point made in the New York Post interview that Sha’Carri should “say less” and “focus on training’, which became a bone of contention for the American and her supporters.
“I was just asked a question and I answered to the best of my abilities – you understand. I don’t know her personally. I am just seeing her from television and just saying you know what? Maybe talk less and work harder. And when you get to dat level, then you can probably say ‘alright, I beat them” and then you can say what you want to say because you have proven that you can do it,” Usain added.
Bolt’s comments came after Miller quizzed him about the brouhaha which began, supposedly by Sha’Carri and a fan, after the New York Post article in which he was featured, was published.
Miller, in goading a response out of Bolt, had said “But to be fair to her, when she says OK, instead of saying that on social media, give me a call and give me di advice,” in reference to what transpired in the aftermath of the publication of the New York post article.
According to The Shade Room, Sha’Carri had shared a post made by one of her followers on her Instagram Story, and captioned it: “I could not have said it better myself”.
The fan’s comment had read: “Everybody want to give advice in the media but no of them actually take the time to speak to her outside the media. So I feel her. Stop speaking on me when you don’t even speak to me.”
Bolt On ‘Personality’
In giving his views on women’s sprinting Bolt had also elaborated on another soundbite in the media, about the importance of sports stars having a “personality”.
“Sha’carri has a personality and that is why people are drawn to her because of her personality and how she is. So if you have a huge personality – because track and field is not the biggest sport in the world, if you have a personality, you stand out,” the Sherwood Content native said.
“But what I am saying, when it comes to competition, I say this some of the time it is good to just train hard, come out there and show what you can do instead of saying what you gonna do and then you don’t turn out,” he added.
He also pointed to how charming and talented the Jamaican female sprinters Elaine Thompson and Shelly-ann Fraser-Pryce were, noting that if they became less reserved this could argue well for them in terms of growing their brands.
“Our girls, outstanding. If you meet Shelly you can ask Shelly. I have always said to Shelly: ‘Shelly you so nice, you so wonderful, why you don’t show the people who you are as a person’. But she is very shy. She is reserved. If you show the other side of your personality, this is when people start watching and looking,” Usain explained.
“I was talking to NJ about it the other day. Elaine Thompson and Shelly joined Tik Tok now, and when you start showing people your personality, people want to be around you… so this is what I have been trying to say and explain to people about the personality,” he continued.
Added Bolt: “People loved that I was the fastest man in the world but they loved my personality even more and this is why I have made such an impact on the world itself. “
In goading Bolt further, Miller in his sometimes indirect way of extracting information suggested: “I guess your comment about personality would also sort of suggest that hers (Sha’carri) is a little abrasive”.
Bolt’s response was instant, as he pointed out that being cocky has perennially been a feature of many American sports: “But its Americans. I have competed with Justin Gatlin ova di years, big up to Justin; he’s a great competitor, but he was one of those persons that like to talk. He talks a big talk, but (when you) shows up you have to perform”.
“And for me, it’s just America… when you talk, people look. And look out for you. So it’s just one of those things that you get to understand in the sport. Any sport, when you talk people are going to now watch and see if you can back it up,” Bolt said.
Again Miller came at Bolt with another of his famous one-liners:
“The Jamaicans really aren’t undiplomatic,” he told the sprinter, to which Bolt laughed, before adding: “We are Jamaicans and we understand certain things and we won’t cross certain lines.”
In her return to the track, after being given a one month ban for marijuana use, prior to the Tokyo Olympics, Sha’Carri had finished last in the 100 meter sprint at the Eugene Diamond League, in which Jamaicans Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, and Sherika Jackson finished 1-2-3.
Prior to the race, the race Sha’Carri had used a 2017 Nicki Minaj meme that went viral on TikTok, noting: “I took some time off to rest and now it’s game time, b-tches. You have no idea!”
But Bolt had told the New York Post that while he had not expected the American to finish last in the race, he speculated that it was Sha’Carri’s pre-game bad-mouthing which had inspired the Jamaican women to go even faster.
“Jamaicans don’t like when people talk s–t about us because we are a very proud people. So if you talk about us we are gonna want you to back it up…,” Bolt had said.