Former American sprinter Wallace Spearmon shares humorous encounters that strengthened his bond with Usain Bolt

Former American sprinter Wallace Spearmon shares humorous encounters that strengthened his bond with Usain Bolt

Mark Kinyanjui 07:10 - 22.06.2024

Spearman is good friends with Usain Bolt; they are known for their jokes and good friendship, which has prompted the American to share some funny encounters racing the Jamaican legend.

Former American sprinter Wallace Spearmon recently recounted some of his most memorable and amusing experiences racing against Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt. 

Spearmon, a two-time NCAA outdoor champion in the 200m and a silver medalist at the 2005 World Championships, offered insights into his early interactions and competitions with Bolt on the Ready Set Go Podcast.

Spearmon, who boasts a personal best of 19.65 seconds in the 200m—making him the thirteenth fastest 200m runner ever—shared his initial skepticism about Bolt's potential when they first met at the Crystal Palace Grand Prix in London. 

At the time, Bolt was a lanky teenager primarily focused on the 200m and 400m events.

“The first time I raced Bolt we were in London, at the Crystal Palace Grand Prix before it became what it is today. I am watching this dude play tag with his Jamaican girls and I am like, ‘This is the guy you are saying gonna beat me? No way,’” Spearmon recalled humorously.

In that race, Spearmon outpaced both Bolt and fellow American sprinter Tyson Gay. The event was a prelude to the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, where Spearmon secured a silver medal.

Despite Bolt's early exit from that championship due to an injury, a friendship blossomed between the two. Spearmon admitted that Bolt's playful antics initially caught him off guard but ultimately helped forge a strong bond.

“Easy, no problem. They shoot the guns, and I walk both of them down and I win, but then we go to worlds and all of a sudden, I am nervous. I am serious, and he starts to mess with me, and I am like, ‘What’s up with this dude?’” Spearmon recounted.

 “I was 19 and Bolt was like 16 or 17 at the time. We had the same energy, so it was cool, but for me, it is hard for me to compete with someone if I care about them. If we are friends, I want to see you do well.”

Spearmon praised Bolt's entertaining personality, recalling a particular race in New York in 2004 where Bolt's showboating made a lasting impression. 

“He runs the race, and he made me realize what shutting it down was. In the last 40 meters, he was pumping his chest in front of a big Jamaican crowd and I was like, ‘What is wrong with him?’ He was showing off to the crowd and I was like, ‘I am feeling it, he is entertaining.’”

One of the funniest stories Spearmon shared involved a 4x100m relay race at the Zurich IAAF Golden League. Spearmon was the anchor  for team USA and had a considerable lead until Bolt caught up.

“I remember in Zurich when we were running the 4x100 and I was anchoring it. My training partner handed me the stick. I was like three to six meters up. Bolt caught me,” Spearmon said. 

“But in the whole leg, I could hear him, ‘Go ahead, Wallace, I am coming! Get your knees up!’ And this was while we were running. ‘Get your knees up, okay, look good, I am coming. Look left, look up, here I am! All right, dip at the line! All right. I got you! Great job!’”

After the race, Spearmon confronted Bolt in a humorous exchange. “‘When we finished, I went to him, looked him in the eye, and told him, ‘Don’t you ever try that bulls**t again, bro! What is wrong with you, man?’”

These anecdotes highlight not only Bolt's playful and competitive nature but also the camaraderie and mutual respect between the two sprinters.

Spearmon's stories offer a glimpse into the lighter side of competitive athletics, showcasing the human connections that form beyond the track.