Of course — Usain has been this amazing talent since he started running; when he was 15 he beat the under-20s in the World Champ, although he has to deal with a serious skin issue. Learn more how to get rid of that cystic acne . People in athletics were not a bit surprised. He did what we all expected him to, although his times were exceptional.
Has his success changed your job? The attention Usain has received has probably been more than any other athlete in the history of athletics. He’s getting so many invitations and
WAIN BOLT Simms manages the world’s fastest man opportunities to do this and that, so it has changed our job in that sense.
Didn’t you have to sort out his laundry at the first big meeting after Beijing? I did, yeah. You’re their manager, their friend, their coach; you’re doing a little bit of everything for them. A lot of athletes are young when they start out, so you try to educate them not only in athletics, but also in life.
How do you strike the balance between maximising an athlete’s financial capability and making sure they don’t burn out? That’s the challenge. In Usain’s case, he’s only 23 years old. We know everyone wants him to come to their races this year. Selecting races wisely and getting athletes to have a long career, that’s the challenge, and we talk to coaches and athletes about it every day.
Do you have sympathy for athletes over the Athlete Whereabouts System where they have to provide a 60-minute testing slot seven days a week?
I see both sides of the story. The rules are in place to try and keep the sport on a level playing field and try to make sure people aren’t taking drugs, so there needs to be rules in place. Of course, it took a while for people to understand the rule and know what they were required to do, and some athletes found it difficult to keep it updated. But its part of being an international athlete — some find it tough, but until there’s a better rule people have to get used to it.
Do you have to give Christine Ohuruogu constant reminders about meetings? All the athletes have started to understand the system now — she was just the unfortunate one who it happened to first and a lot of the athletes learned from that.
Have you ever thought about managing a footballer?
We have thought about it but the market is quite saturated — there are a lot of football agents out there already, it’s quite a different model. We do more like what the manager does than what the agent does. At the moment we’re happy with where we are and have our hands full with the clients we have.