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Usain Bolt says games helped make him a winner and encourages other athletes to try them

PES 2018
(Image credit: Konami)

Usain Bolt reckons video games helped build his desire to win, and he encourages other athletes to play them in their downtime to take their mind off of things.

Speaking with BBC in a recent video interview (partly conducted over a game of FIFA), Bolt discussed how his track and field training played off of video games as a hobby. "I feel like it kind of helped my hunger, you would say," he says. "To always want to win. I feel like it, in a way, kind of helped out with the track and field, because now when you get on the track you have that same mentality as when you're playing video games. You just want to win." 

If Bolt had grown up with the games and tech we have today, he says he may have become even more invested in the hobby, potentially pursuing a career as an esports player or professional steamer instead of track. 

"I think I was so much into video games when I was younger because sometimes I would skip training to go to the video game store to play video games," he says. "When my coach would call my dad and tell him, 'Listen, he didn't come to training today,' and then my dad would be like, 'Why didn't you go to training?' And I had no answer. You know what I mean? That was just one thing, so I know if we had what we had now, I would definitely be a gamer. For sure." 

He still sees games as a great way to relax, though. In fact, Bolt encourages other athletes to play video games for some competitive escapism – which might sound like an oxymoron, but he makes a valid point. "You're so focused on trying to do good in a game that you don't worry about anything else," he says. 

Bolt says he'd love to be the cover star of a track and field game, and he's actually appeared in games before, namely PES 2018

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.