Usain Bolt training at Dortmund is great publicity, but it’s in no way a serious opportunity

Now that he has retired from Olympic sprinting and is looking to retire completely next year, the fastest man in the world is looking to find the next thing in his life.

Over the weekend, Usain Bolt revealed that he was training with Borussia Dortmund. Later confirmed by Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, the 30-year-old world record holder in the 100m and 200m will join the team at some point in the future.

Bolt has expressed a desire to play for his favorite team, Manchester United at some point. But let’s be real here. Does anyone, including Bolt, actually believe they have any semblance of a professional soccer career?

It’s great marketing and great publicity for both Bolt and Dortmund. It got us and many others talking. But that’s really all it is.

I haven’t seen Bolt play soccer all that much, but I would assume he has decent skills. If there are cameras around him during this, I would hope he has kicked around a soccer ball at some point so he can at least play.

The issue for Bolt will be the thing he is best known for, his running.

Usain Bolt is a finely tuned athlete and maybe one of the best athletes in the world, but the thing that people marvel about him doesn’t translate to soccer. Speed is great but sustained speed for 90 minutes is best and Bolt may not be able to do that. Bolt has trained his body to be the best when it comes to short sprints but the physiology of that body isn’t going to translate in a 90 minute soccer game. According to Bolt’s agent, he hasn’t even run a mile. So how is anyone going to expect Bolt to outrun everyone toward the end of a game and take advantage of that speed?

Bolt to Dortmund reminded me of Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco) training for Sporting Kansas City in 2011. Ochocinco played some soccer in high school and is a huge fan, but a decade-long break from any form of competitive soccer showed and Johnson didn’t switch careers. But both benefitted from the publicity of the agreement. Johnson, waiting out the NFL lockout, got in the news and kept himself in shape. While Sporting KC got some publicity in association with their new name and brand change. They were the Wizards before that season.

So when it comes to Usain Bolt. He’s a great athlete and if someone is going to give him an opportunity to train with a top European team, it’s not hurting anyone. But if you are thinking Bolt will change the game and get Dortmund or Manchester United some trophies, I have some bad news.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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