Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, is set to retire after the World Championships in London, which begins on Friday and the world athletics body president has likened the Jamaica’s impact in Athletics to that of the former boxing great Muhammed Ali, one of sport’s most iconic figures.
Talking to BBC Sport, Lord Coe said of the 30-year-old Bolt: “He is the best sprinter of all time.”
“Usain Bolt is a genius. I can’t think, other than Muhammad Ali, of anybody that has so had an impact inside or beyond their sport.
You can have the Friday-night-in-the-pub conversations about who is best footballer or tennis player, but there is no argument about this guy in sprinting.
“We shouldn’t be sitting there saying you are suddenly going to find another Usain Bolt any more than just boxing suddenly found another Muhammad Ali, what we will miss is the personality. We do want athletes with personality. It’s nice to have someone who has a view and fills the room and fills a stadium.
“We are not going to replace Usain Bolt – not because you are not going to have a trophy cabinet full of three back-to-back Olympic doubles and relays and World Championships – you are just not going to replace him because his personality dominated not just our sport but pretty much every sport out there.”
Coe, who won Olympic 1500m gold in 1980 and 1984, said it would be “virtuous” for both Jamaica and global athletics to keep Bolt involved in the sport after his retirement and that “discussions” had taken place.
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