I Am Bolt 

Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt said he wanted to make people see what he went through to get to where he is now as he attended the much-anticipated world premiere of his biopic I Am Bolt yesterday in London, England.

The red carpet event at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema saw a number of celebrities turn out for the film that looked at his record-breaking career of Bolt and gave a glimpse of the behind the scenes into the life of the world’s fastest man.

Footage from his first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics to London and the Rio Olympic Games featured in the film. There were also highlights of Bolt’s youth and interviews with family members, friends and coaches.

“The premiere is brilliant and I just want to thank you guys for coming out and I really appreciate that,” said Bolt, dapperly dressed as he made his appearance on the red carpet.

I Am Bolt had been in production for 18 months and essentially followed Bolt as he prepared to defend his three Olympic sprint titles in Rio, Brazil, which he did successfully.

“Most people’s concept of me is that ‘Oh Usain, it’s easy for Usain, there’s no stress. But it’s not,” he added.

“I could feel all emotions throughout everything, like I was reliving my life again when I was watching that,” Bolt explained.

He continued: “That’s what I wanted people to see, the struggles, the pain, the triumph, the stress that I’ve been through and then have more insight also on my life.”

Bolt, who was born in Sherwood district of Trelawny, revealed how uncomfortable it was at first having cameras behind the scenes in his day-to-day life.

“Initially it was weird, but when I started to get to know Ben and Gabe Turner (producers), the guys, the team, everybody just became like a family and it became fun and it wasn’t as stressful as it started out.

“So it was good and easy and they made it easy and made me much more relaxed because they are good people,” he added.

“When Gabe came to me he told me, ‘listen to me, if you want him to make good movie you have to give him good stuff’. So I said [that] was all right. You know what, so I just gave him as much as possible about my life and I let them in my life and made it comfortable,” Bolt pointed out.

Bolt, who won an unprecedented three gold 100m medals at three consecutive Olympic Games, said it was fun reliving the races in the movie.

“It was great; I went back through all the emotions again over and over. So for me that was brilliant and they did really great and came through for me and they made a great movie and I really appreciate that,” said Bolt.

Jamaican singer Sean Paul, who played water polo for Jamaica, was also present at the premiere and he referred to Bolt as a “national hero”.

“What do you think when I say Usain Bolt?” Sean Paul was asked as he stepped onto the red carpet.

“Oh, national hero for me. Icon in track and field, an all-round champion, just a genuine leader, a charismatic person that all of us look up to in Jamaica,” said the singer.

“We all need our spirits lifted at times and someone like him is just the epitome of greatness. Big up to Usain because he has worked very hard to achieve what he attained in track and field,” he added.

“The first time I saw Usain win in Beijing I was somewhere in Europe and we were banging down doors and jumping up and down and just this third time around we heard stories of him running and locking down JFK airport,” said Paul.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It feels like liberation, it feels like freedom again. He lifts our spirits so much as a country, he is a national hero,” reiterated Paul.

Meanwhile, German tennis legend Boris Becker, who also attended the premiere, said Bolt epitomises greatness and speed.

“I think the word icon is used too frequently these days. Everybody that wins something is suddenly a legend or icon and I disagree with that. But Usain Bolt is different, he is one of the true icons and he has been a role model for all of us,” said Becker, who is the youngest male winner of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament at age 17.

“If it’s one competition you can’t miss, is Usain Bolt racing at the Olympics,” he added.

Bolt’s close friend and fellow athlete Mo Farah of Great Britain, braved the chilly night to be at the premiere.

“I am really excited…Bolt is the man, so I got to show support tonight,” said Farah, who won the 5000m, 10,000m double twice at the Olympics in London and Rio.

“It’s unbelievable what he does, he makes it look easy, but it’s not easy at all. We are just honoured to be in the same circle as him. What he has done for the sport and in general is just incredible,” said Farah.

The who’s who of sports and entertainment were out in their numbers for the event. A number of London-based Arsenal players including Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal also attended along with former Arsenal players Cesc Fabregas, now at Chelsea, and Robert Pires.

Jamaican born Manchester City player Raheem Sterling also made the trip as did former Liverpool and England player Jamie Rednapp.

English singers Liam Payne, Spice Girl Geri Horner, Fleur East, triple jumper Jonathan Edwards along with British boxer David Haye were just a few who attended.

— Howard Walker

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