Ah yeah, it does make things more heated and makes all the fans want to see us together again. I know I do. But going up against him doesn’t change anything for me. I’m always motivated. I use all my opponents as a tool for staying ready. But now I’m healthy again. Tyson and all the others best beware.
What made you choose your $32 million sponsorship deal with PUMA over bigger names like Nike and Adidas? Some say you may have been able to get more money from the bigger athletic shoe companies.
I’ve had a deal with PUMA since I was 15. They’ve stood by me since the beginning of time, even when I was getting hurt all the time and not performing as well as I was capable of.
Is it true that Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella is designing gear for your line of PUMA wear?
She’s working on uniforms for the entire Jamaican track team that we will wear in the 2012 Olympics. Bob Marley’s one of my all-time favs, so I’m looking forward to working with her on everything. It’s going to be inspirational to run in London with that energy surrounding me.
How does such a small country like Jamaica continue to be such a major international player in track and field?
Personally, I believe every country has a sport that it identifies with as sort of a national pastime. In Jamaica, for the longest, it was football and then cricket. But now it’s track and field. We’re producing more and more great athletes in that area because more kids are becoming involved. And they’re doing it at much earlier stages in life.
What music artists get you charged when you’re training or away from the track?
Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Young Money and Nicki Minaj are all at the top of my playlist. Plus, I gotta have my video games.
Okay, we are going to put you on the spot. Beanie Man or Buju Banton?
Wow. Beanie’s my boy, someone I know very well. And Buju is like the biggest icon back home.
It looks like you have a future in politics.
[Laughs] Let’s just say I’m down with them both.
You’re an ambassador of tourism for Jamaica. What’s your hope for the residents?
It’s best for my people that I try and be the best ambassador for Jamaica that I can be. With increased tourism comes more jobs and more opportunities for everyone. Most of my family is still there, so the thought of that never leaves my mind.
It’s rumored that the Jamaican government has assigned two undercover officers to guard you full-time. Are you ever concerned about your own safety when you are back home?
When I’m stressed, this is the place I’ll go back to because this is where I feel most comfortable -- a place to chill, where they love you but know when to leave you alone. It’s a place I’ll always feel at home.