Usain Bolt isn’t just good at running, says Rich Pelley in The Observer. The sprinter tried to become a professional footballer and backs himself as a good cricketer. He spent his childhood playing football and cricket on the streets of Sherwood Content, the small town in Jamaica where he grew up. “Cricket was my life,” he tells Pelley. “I was a massive fan of Waqar Younis. He was a fast bowler.” As it happens, “I was a fast bowler too”. In fact, he says confidently, “I think I could still bowl”.
It was a cricket coach who convinced him to take up running at school. Before then he’d only ever sprinted to get out of trouble. As a child he would routinely steal fruit from his father’s farm. “Sometimes you’d go to a mango orchard that you knew you shouldn’t be in and someone would chase you out. That’s where I got my first taste of running away as fast as I could.” By 2009 he was officially the fastest man in the world, sprinting 100 metres in 9.58 seconds. His record still stands today. “When people come up to me, no matter who they are, the first thing they always say is, ‘Do you want a race?’” Now 35, Bolt has retired from running and is starting a new career as a music producer. His first album is doing well in Billboard’s reggae chart, but he won’t rest until he’s achieved greatness. “Now I want to win a Grammy.”
Real women race lawnmowers
Texas’s six female lawnmower racers are a “fearless” bunch, says Dina Gachman in Texas Monthly. They “full-throttle it” around dirt tracks at up to 40mph as members of the Lone Star Mower Racing Association, founded in 1998. It’s surprisingly high-risk: drivers can end up badly bruised or nursing broken ribs. Sammie Neel, 62, once flipped and got stuck beneath her mower, which is nicknamed Love Mowtion No 9. She says: “I was, like, ‘Is anyone gonna get this mower off of me?’ Then I thought ‘Heck, it’s not that heavy’, so I pushed it off myself.”
Before a race, Julie Tynmann, 45, takes a swig of Red Bull. “I’m trying to get mad,” she says. “Like, ‘Get out the way, here I come.’ But I’m not trying to get so mad that I kill myself.” Crystal Gill, 39, is still racing despite her cracked kneecap. She says her fellow racers are “family”. The women often have dinner and margaritas at the end of the day. The sport originated in Britain in 1968, when Ashton on Mersey Cricket Club held a lawnmower “grand prix” for charity.