New York City – Fans queue outside a sportswear store on Broadway. A handful stand in line just inside the store as well, all waiting anxiously for Usain Bolt to turn up – the Jamaican had arrived from India just hours earlier.
As the sun begins to fall, Bolt appears sporting black sunglasses and a black shirt that read ‘Forever Faster’.
He looked relaxed, smiling and waving to the screaming fans.
Despite the fame, fortune and accolades, the world’s fastest man remained the humble athlete I met six years ago.
After interacting with the fans, Bolt sat down for a chat with Al Jazeera where he talked about his career, world records, pressure to perform and what ails Manchester United…
How fast can Usain Bolt go in the 100m?
No one knows. The possibility of me going faster is there but it’s for me to stay injury-free. I think I’ve been injured every season since 2009. So it’s all about trying to focus on the little things and ensuring they don’t become big problems.
Can you break your 100m record?
I definitely think so. As I said, it’s about focusing on not getting injured. If I can get a perfect season where I’m working well, without any injuries, with no time off, I’ll definitely have the chance to break this world record.
What are your plans for the 200m record?
That’s my focus, that’s my personal focus. I think everybody wants to see the 100m go but the 200m is for me. One of my biggest goals is to try to run sub-19. Like a good sub-19, pushing the barrier a little bit will be great for me.
How high is the pressure to always perform?
I don’t look at it as pressure. There’s is no pressure because I always want to do well. I always like to dominate. I want to always show the world that I’m the best. For me, it’s a lifestyle because it is what I want. So there is no pressure.
How has being an Olympic and world champion changed you as a person?
It never changes me. I have always wanted to be an Olympic and world champion but I’m just a normal person. My parents have always said no matter how hard you work or how great you are, you should always remain the same. So I am still the same person who was humble before the fame.
You had a hamstring injury last year and another injury this year. Is age catching up with you?
I don’t think so. I started off with the first problem, which was my foot. I had a small problem with it and had surgery. After I recovered from that, I had a hamstring injury because I was pushing myself too hard in order to get back into shape.
There isn’t any competition for you these days but who realistically can get to your level?
[Laughs] You never know. It’s really all about the work ethics and focus that a lot of athletes put into it, because there are a lot of great athletes out there. Sometimes they lack the focus or aren’t as confident. They might say listen, I’m never going to get this far. I never look at myself like that, because when I started out I never knew I was going to be the world’s fastest man.
After that first moment, I had the confidence in myself that I could do great things. I think there could be great athletes out there and it’s just all about their confidence.
I really don’t know who I can say can break my world record.
Who is your biggest rival and one person you think can break your records?
I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone can break my world record. I really don’t know who I can say can break my world record.
My greatest rival right now I would say is my teammate Yohan Blake because I see him train and I see his potential. If he can also stay injury free, he’s going to be great. It was great competing with him and I’m looking forward to his future.
How has the drug scandal hurt Jamaican athletes while you try to show the world the talent that your country can produce?
I think it hurt the sport itself. But when it comes to Jamaican athletes, there weren’t any serious things. There were mistakes but there weren’t any serious drugs. It is still bad: the drug scandal. But it was a good thing it wasn’t like they were deliberately going out of their way to take drugs. It’s a bad thing for the sport, but not so stressful.
You’re a Manchester United Fan. Can Falcao take this club back to its glory days?
He’s a great striker. I met him in Germany a month ago. I was talking to him and encouraged him to keep doing what he is doing that he is a great striker. He is certainly going to change the Premier League. He will definitely step it up for us this season.
What can Luis Van Gaal do to bring Manchester United back?
Van Gaal is trying to implement his system, it’s up to the players if they can learn his system, they will do well. If a new coach comes in, it’s always an issue of can the players deal with the system. It’s all up to the players.