BRUSSELS - Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is considering retiring after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he said Wednesday.
But any plans for going out to grass at the age of 30 would come after three more years of domination that might include a pop at the Commonwealth Games next year and another shot at bettering his own 200m world record.
Bolt has dominated the competitive world of sprinting since claiming three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games but hinted ahead of Friday's season-ending Diamond League meet in Brussels that Rio would be his third and last.
Bolt (R) looks at his compatriot Nesta Carter as he wins the men's 100m race of the Diamond League Athletics meeting in Weltklasse on August 29, 2013 in Zurich. PHOTO/AFP
"After the 2016 Olympics: that seems to be a good idea, retiring when I'm still on top of my career," said the six-time Olympic gold medallist.
"But again, if I want to continue to dominate on the track I can't afford an off season, that is a lesson that I have learned. This wasn't a perfect season for me. I won but it was not in a 'Usain Bolt fashion'."
'Usain Bolt fashion' or not, the 27-year-old Jamaican still claimed a treble gold at last month's world championships, taking his world gold medal haul to eight.
"Now that I'm getting a bit older, I know that I have to stay injury free, maintain focus and act responsible," he said.
Bolt added that any plans for the 2014 season, a year with no global championships, would be taken in October after he had taken some time off.
Bolt poses flanked by 2014 European Athletics championships mascot during the athletes presentation at the Diamond League Athletics meeting Weltklasse on August 29, 2013 in Zurich. PHOTO/AFP
"I will prepare for the next season very well. First, I encouraged my coach (Glen Mills) to turn it down a bit but he convinced me that that is a bad option," he said.
"You need to continue working hard, reduce the risk to get injured and not having to pick it up from scratch.
"So in 2014 I will be racing like I did in any other season. The Commonwealth Games? I've never been there before but I'll leave it up to my coach to decide on my competition programme."
Bolt also hinted that bettering his own world record of 19.19sec in the 200m, his favoured event, could be on the cards as well.
"The 100m world record (which he also set) is the hardest to break because it is more technical," Bolt said.
"In the 200m, if I can master the bend and stay injury free, there is room for improvement.
"As I said, I will prepare well to race as fast as possible in 2014, and with no championships on my mind I can concentrate on just trying to race as fast as I can."
World''s fastest man ''to retire after Rio 2016''