Usain Bolt has revealed it was a language barrier that ultimately decided his dream to pursue a professional footballing contract in Australia.
The 100-metre world record holder said he had offers from Spain and France, but chose Australia to avoid the steep learning curve of taking up a new language.
“We got offers from teams in Spain, France but it would be harder learning a new language,” Bolt said.
“Australia is somewhere I enjoy coming.
“The Mariners decided to give me an opportunity and I’m very grateful”.
Bolt arrived at Gosford Stadium on Tuesday to participate in his first training session with the Mariners since arriving in Australia.
A media frenzy quickly ensued and despite only participating in a passing drill with the full squad, the former Jamaican sprinter says he is keen to work hard for as long as it takes.
“I’m here to get over the first hurdle first and that is getting a contract,” Bolt said.
“After that I will see what level I am at and what level I need to work towards.
“Then I can determine my goals for the season.”
Bolt also responded to questions from reporters surrounding if his Mariners trial was just a gimmick.
“It’s just another opportunity for me to prove people wrong. I’m here. I don’t care what people say,” he said.
BIRTHDAY BOLT: Usain begins Mariners A-League trial in Gosford
“This is something I want. I like new challenges. I challenged myself in track and field and I got to the top.
“Football has always been a passion of mine. I want to challenge myself and this is a challenge.”
It’s been just over a year since Bolt retired from athletics and while the sprint king is naturally fit and keeps active, diving head-first into training with a professional football team in pre-season mode is too big a risk for all concerned.
However, he will be keen to hone his new craft quickly as the club is keen to unleash the potential recruit in an August 31 trial game.
Mariners coach Mike Mulvey also chimed in on the press conference, saying it’s much too soon to evaluate Bolt’s potential.
“It’s just the first day. The glare was on him,” Mulvey said.
“He’s a fantastic athlete and we’re delighted to have him here.
“If it takes 12 months for Usain Bolt to get ready, I’m happy to wait that long.”