World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt picked a cricket ball as a school child, while World 100 metres champion Yohan Blake mesmerised his principal at school with his sprinting during a cricket match.
Cricket and Olympics crossed paths only once, at the Paris 1900 Games, but there are Olympic legends who have had trysts with the game which saw its cash-rich T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), begin in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday.
A report on olympicchannel.com highlighted the stories of champion athletes who did play cricket early on in their lives.
India’s Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who became a household name in the country in 2004 when he won a silver in the men’s double trap event at the Athens Olympics, was also exposed to multiple sports including cricket, volleyball, basketball.
Jamaican sprinter Blake was a pacer at St. Jago High School, and it was during one of the matches that the principal took a note of how quickly he ran to the wicket. Blake was consequently urged to try his luck in sprinting.
Another Jamaican, Bolt was introduced to cricket by his father whose admired the West Indies fast bowlers Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh.
Bolt played cricket throughout his school days but his father took the decision of asking his son to step into athletics.