Usain Bolt with the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy

T20 World Cup ambassador Usain Bolt predicts big things for cricket in USA

Usain Bolt - an eight-time Olympic gold medallist - was unveiled as an ambassador for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 on Wednesday, 24 April.

Bolt believes cricket can prosper in America on the back of co-hosting this year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup and a successful foray back into the Olympics in 2028.

The event will be of special interest to Bolt, who grew up playing cricket in the Caribbean Island of Jamaica and only turned his attention to athletics and running as fast as he could when urged to try track and field events by his cricket coach in high school.

'I was an all-rounder' – T20 World Cup ambassador Usain Bolt on his love for cricket

The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 ambassador Usain Bolt describes his love for cricket, his cricketing memories, and how big the upcoming event in the West Indies and USA can be.

A long-time friend of West Indies great Chris Gayle, Bolt said he was looking forward to playing a part in the tournament that will run in the USA and Caribbean from June 1-29.

"I am thrilled to be an ambassador for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” Bolt told the ICC recently.

"Coming from the Caribbean where Cricket is a part of life, the sport has always held a special place in my heart, and I am honoured to be part of such a prestigious tournament.

"I look forward to bringing my energy and enthusiasm to the World Cup and contributing to the growth of cricket globally."

An Out of This World Spectacle | The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

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Bolt expects to see the party atmosphere in full force in the Caribbean - with 'fans enjoying the dancing, music and high-energy' atmosphere it is renowned for - while the 37-year-old is also keen to see how much of an impact cricket can make in its first major venture into the American market.

As an avid watcher of American sports, Bolt expects cricket to thrive in its new surroundings and thinks there is every chance the sport can make a long-term impact in the market on the back of a successful T20 World Cup.

"America believes a lot in sport and high intensity and for me to get into that market is big,” Bolt suggested.

"When they follow a sport, they follow a sport properly and they go all in and I feel like if they can crack into it, they will get into it the right way 

"If we bring energy like I know we will for the T20 (World Cup) it is going to be wonderful."

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy Tour 2024 wraps up in the USA

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy Tour 2024 wraps up in the USA

And Bolt expects further inroads to be made in 2028 when cricket makes its return to the Summer Olympics for the first time since it appeared at the Games of the II Olympiad in Paris back in 1900.

“If you listen to NBA players and the way they talk about winning a gold medal, they have won NBA titles, they have their rings, but they are like 'we went to the Olympics',” Bolt noted.

“The other day I watched the documentary about how they (USA basketball team) lost (at the 2004 Olympics) and there was a Redeem Team (at the Beijing Games in 2008) and the focus and the hard work (they needed to win).

“That is how big (important) getting a gold medal is. Every sport tries to get into the Olympics because it is such a big thing and it is such a great feeling to be on a podium winning that gold medal.”

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