It was a mere five weeks ago that Olympic champion Usain Bolt withdrew from the 100 m race just minutes before the final gun was to go off. The 200 m race was also sacrificed. The decision to withdraw from the Jamaican Olympic trials, secondary to a grade one hamstring tear, was made with Bolt’s future in mind. It was a positive deviation from how Bolt has previously managed his injuries. If his warrior mentality has been the source of his unparalleled athletic success, his failure to rest in the face of injury has been one of his biggest weaknesses.
This was, as far as the general population knows, the third significant hamstring injury for Bolt. The second occurred two years prior, just ahead of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, Scotland. The initial documented hamstring injury was in 2012, leading up to the London Olympics.
Without proper treatment and rest, hamstring injuries are considered the slowest healing muscle belly injury athletes can sustain. With proper treatment and conscientious rest, a grade one hamstring tear can incur substantial healing within a period of only a few weeks.
It appears that Usain Bolt may be taking it more seriously this time. Just ahead of leaving for Rio, Bolt said:
“especially at the start of last year I noticed that injuries take a little bit more time to get back to where you want to be”
Recently the head psychologist for Athletics Canada told CBS sports:
“I don’t think anyone on the planet, minus three or four people, probably know what Usain Bolt’s full diagnosis is.
I’ve seen people come back from hamstring issues and Grade 1 [tears] in a couple of weeks and been pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see how this story plays out.”
These are the secrets that are kept close to the vest in world-class athletes. This time it’s more than a Sunday afternoon NFL game. It’s far more than a Monday night MLB game. This is the 2016 Summer Olympics! This is the world’s largest congregation of athletic supremacy! This is where physical weakness is held under lock and key! This is the athletic Australian Outback – where the strongest lion in the pack hides his illness until his last days. Welcome to the jungle!