GOLD COAST, Australia -- Retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is happy to be playing the role of global athletics megastar, but says a new leading light must emerge if the sport is to flourish into the future.
Bolt touched down on Australia's Gold Coast to add some much-needed star power to the Commonwealth Games, the three-time Olympic 100m champion to play medal presenter at Carrara Stadium on Thursday night.
He fronted a packed media gathering in the city that day, throwing his support behind the Games despite its lack of headline athletes. He also took another cheeky dig at former teammate Yohan Blake and his failure to win the 100m gold on Monday night.
His star quality still on show with more than 50 members on the media on hand, Bolt clearly still enjoys being the centre of attention, but he wants to see someone emerge and stake their claim as athletics' next global phenomenon.
"It's definitely going to take time, it's not always going to be like this I know that much," he said. "But it's going to take time and I've said it to a few of the athletes that 'this is your time'.
"The sport needs somebody else to really step up and to be that person. So it's a wide open playing field, it's just that person; step up and then do it.
"But I'm still track and field, so no matter if they talk about me I'm still part of the sport; that's how I feel, no matter what."
Having hung up the spikes, Bolt has traded the track for the football pitch as he plots a professional football career. A Manchester United fan, Bolt had a good laugh when asked if he would soon be signing for the Red Devils.
"There's no such thing right now, I'm still in the early stage; still doing trials, still trying to get fit, still working on a few things.
"But I'm very serious about playing football and I'm putting in the work. I'm working with Dortmund at this point, and they're really helping me to figure out which direction to go and where I need to improve to be better if I'm really going to do this. So we're just working on that right now.
"I'm not linked to Manchester; hopefully in the future."