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Usain Bolt and Muhammad Ali: two of a kind

ICONS: Left to right - Usain Bolt and Muhammad Ali

AHEAD OF Usain Bolt competing at the World Athletics Championships, IAAF president Lord Coe compared the Jamaican sprinter with the late Muhammad Ali.

Of Bolt's impending retirement, Lord Coe confessed:

“I am sad that he is going. I am an athletics fa and taking my federation hat off. The guy has been a sensation.

"He is connected in a way few in and out of their sport have connected. I cannot think of anyone who has connected in that way since Muhammad Ali. There is not discussion or conjecture; he is the best sprinter of all time.”

He went on further:

"The record books show that but I think what we are going to miss is not that it is unlikely that someone is going to win three Olympic titles in a row in the 100m, 200m and relay or a sack full of world titles or world records.

"It is just that the guy has a personality. When we sit here with stars that are packaged and won’t even answer a question most of the time, he has a view, he has an opinion and he is very forthright about the future of our sport.

"That is what we are going to miss and what world athletes are going to have to duplicate. That is what we have to do working with the federation; to make sure they elevate stars of tomorrow that are extraordinary competitors.

"He is an extra ordinarycompetitor but the sport goes on. If we had been sitting here 15 or 16 years ago we would probably have been having a similar conversation about the imminent retirement of Michael Johnson or Jose Marie Perec. Other athletes came through.

"Muhammad Ali retired and great boxers came through. They did not replace Ali but the sport did not suddenly die.”

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