It’s not every day you get to meet and have a chat to the fastest man alive. But that’s exactly what we did when Usain Bolt brought his record-breaking pair of legs down under for a local tour. He gave us a glimpse into his personal life, chatting about everything from cricket to fast cars to DJing to his hometown and of course… sneakers! He was even stoked about our very own Geography Teacher Puma colab! Check out the interview and a heap of photos to meet the man off the track.
Hey Usain… Puma has had an amazing history of endorsing sporting teams from Africa and athletes from Jamaica. How did they find you?
I was 16 when they first approached me. They said ‘you are a great talent’ and they actually came through my manager…
So you had a manager when you were 16?
Yeah, well he wasn’t my manager then, he was actually at my old school, because I was doing so much sports I was kind of falling back and he was helping me out with school and stuff like that. So Puma approached him and said ‘Puma would like to sign Usain’ and they talked and hooked up and then he kind of became my manager from then on.
So at 16 you were running competitively at an international level?
No, no, it was just in high school, and most kids actually start out that way, just in minor leagues building talent. But it’s been good, it’s been wonderful, we’ve done great things together and they’ve stuck with me through the hard times, when I wasn’t doing so well and now I’m doing well, so it’s good.
Yeah, that family feeling must mean a lot when you’re associated with a brand.
Yeah definitely, it felt good to know that even when I wasn’t doing good, like three years I was really bad and then I got injured, they stuck through that. They didn’t cut my contract or say ‘we’re gonna break it if you don’t do this and that’, so it was very good and it’s paying off now!
So you wore Pumas when you were at high school?
For me, I lived in Romas, man. I used to have like every colour possible. I loved them because they were so comfortable and flat so they were nice on the foot.
What it is about Jamaican guys that makes them run fast?
I think it’s just what’s in the water! Track and field is one of the major sports. We’ve got football, cricket and track and field is getting bigger so more athletes are really getting into it. We’ve got this school championship every year and it’s so important to everyone, it’s like a rugby game. So they really work the kids hard and that’s why a lot of talent comes out of Jamaica.
You’re life’s changed quite a bit since the Olympics, is that fair to say?
How does it feel to become an instant celebrity?
Well it’s been great. I enjoy everything… not the interviews and a lot of stuff like that. But I enjoy nights like this, I got to meet Adam Gilchrist (Australian cricketer) and these other guys that I get up for and watch on TV. And he’s like my idol so it’s wonderful to meet him and it’s an honour to come out and do these things. So yeah I don’t like interviews but I get to meet these guys and travel all over the world, so it’s mad fun.
So meeting Gilly was a highlight of today?
Yeah definitely, he’s one of my favourite players, so it was an honour meeting him and I got a bat signed by him so I’ve got something new to put in my house.
Don’t try taking that on the plane as hand luggage.
[laughs] Yeah, I’ll make sure I don’t take it with me as hand luggage.
We all know you as an athlete but there’s a few little insights into your ‘other’ life: Number one cricket, number two Djing, number three… there’s a picture of you in a Ferrari downstairs… is that your car?
Nah, I wish it was, man. I went to Monaco and I told them I really wanted to drive a Ferrari so they gave me a car for three hours to drive around. It was awesome, man.
I bet you like to go fast?
Yeah, I like speed, I have a need for speed. Most of my cars are fast!
Which cars do you drive?
Right now I have a GT Skyline… that’s pretty quick, it has like 480hp. And I just got a BMW X6 M, which has like 550hp, and I got a 3 series and a Honda, which I’m setting up and putting a turbo on.
Ah, nice. So you’re doing track racing?
Nah, I just like it on the road. Just rough up a few people… so it’s a lot of fun.
And you’re living in Jamaica full time?
Yeah, I can’t live outside of Jamaica. It’s been nice since I’ve been down here though… I haven’t missed Jamaica yet, and that’s not normal so that’s a good sign that I’m actually comfortable being here.
Do you miss the food and your family?
For me it’s just everything pretty much. I always miss everything about Jamaica because it’s so fun being at home.
And the music?
Awesome music, but you can bring your music with you so there’s no stress. But if you’re like me and you go out and there’s no Dancehall music then there’s a problem [laughs].
Yeah I don’t know if there’s any Dancehall clubs here… So who are your favourite artists?
Nah I don’t think so. There’s hip hop and stuff… In Jamaica definitely Empire. There’s Box Cartel… I like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Drake is out now, he’s going great… Eminem, Dizzee Rascal.
Do you actually get to spin in the clubs over there?
Everywhere I go people always say if you want to spin it’s fine, but I never do unless I’m really in the mood. But at a lot of the athlete meets there’s not much hip hop so sometimes I’ll put up some hip hop and reggae just to liven up the party.
How isolated do you feel now with your fame? Are you able to just walk around freely in Jamaica?
Oh, it’s good. The Jamaicans are not as crazy. Yeah they enjoy seeing me, but if I just pop up on the road it’s not a problem… it’s when they know I’m going somewhere, then everybody shows up. Normally I just go on the road, I’ll get stopped, take pictures, autographs, all of that.
Thanks to Usain Bolt for taking time to answer our questions – it was at the end of a long day! Peep the fastest man alive rocking our PUMA ‘Geography Teachers’… and we are happy to say that he loved em so much he was out all night and still rocking em like crazy!