STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Bolt to debut for Australian football team

CNC
Added On August 30, 2018

Following unrivaled success at three Olympic Games you might think an eight-time gold medalist would want to step away from the grind of professional sports and relax by the beach somewhere under the hot Jamaican sun, but not Usain Bolt! 

 
The 32-year-old former sprinter hit the training pitch at Gosford on one of the coldest mornings of the year on Tuesday, to prepare for his first match of the Australian pre-season with his newly adopted football club, the Central Coast Mariners. 
 
SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) USAIN BOLT, Central Coast Mariners
"I'm happy to be part of a team that works so hard and pushes themselves. The first week, we took it easy at the start I came on half way, but this week we are trying to get me through the full program and just getting up to pace because coming this Friday I will get a chance to play."
 
The Mariners will take on Central Coast Select, a team made up of some the most talented local players from the lower leagues. The match is expected to be the largest ever pre-season match in the history of Australian football.
 
With "Bolt-mania" sweeping through the waterside community, the club predicts around 12,000 fans will be on hand to catch all the action.
 
One local newspaper has even printed out several thousand Usain Bolt face masks for fans to wear during the match. 
 
SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) MATT SIMON, Central Coast Mariners Striker:
"It is not a distraction, they boys are professional footballers and they have to deal with that sought of stuff. It is great that he is here for the club and the Central Coast as a community."
 
Despite being spotted on the left wing at the training ground, it is still not clear what positon the Jamaican sensation will play or how much time he will get on the paddock.
 
SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) USAIN BOLT, Central Coast Mariners
"I think maybe the last 20 or 15 minutes maybe just to get a feel, I don't know, but it is all up to the coaching staff to determine how long I can play."
 
Bolt says he has already improved a lot, although he admits it has been challenging getting used to the multi-directional body movement needed in football.