Usain Bolt denies Commonwealth Games slur

Usain Bolt poses with the Commonwealth Games mascot. Pic: Getty
Usain Bolt poses with the Commonwealth Games mascot. Pic: Getty
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Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt was at the centre of a Commonwealth Games storm today but insisted he had made no criticism of Glasgow 2014.

The fastest man in history was reported in the Times to have labelled the Games “a bit s***”, when speaking on Tuesday, and to have said he was “not really” having fun in Scotland.

“The Olympics were better,” Bolt is quoted as saying.

Yet the six-time Olympic champion responded to the report on his Twitter feed by saying: “I’m waking up to this nonsense..journalist please don’t create lies to make headlines.”

The Times reporter behind the story, Katie Gibbons, stated on Twitter that the “full conversation” with Bolt would feature in Thursday’s newspaper.

Bolt’s manager Ricky Simms told BBC Sport the remarks attributed to the athlete were “utter rubbish”.

Simms added: “The atmosphere in and around the stadiums has been absolutely fantastic and I have absolutely no idea where these quotes have come from.”

Bolt arrived in Glasgow last Saturday morning and, at a press conference in the main press centre, confirmed he would be running the 4 x 100 metres relay heats on Friday as well as in the sprint relay final on Saturday, the final day of athletics competition.

The 27-year-old confirmed he would be staying in the athletes’ village but added that he would be spending most of his time in his room.

Asked on Saturday what he expected from Glasgow, he said: “A lot of rain maybe, seeing a lot of kilts around the place. I didn’t come here with expectations, I’m just coming out and trying to see the country. I guess they will try to show me their culture.”

Bolt has yet to race this year after taking time to recover from a foot injury but said he was in “pretty good shape” and looking forward to getting races under his belt.

This is his first Commonwealth Games and since Saturday he has looked to keep a low profile, although he met with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on Tuesday.

Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said he would take Bolt “at his word” following his denial.

Speaking at the daily media briefing, Hooper stressed the Commonwealth Games had its own identity and aims, different to the Olympic Games, and said he was “proud” of its status in the sporting world.

Hooper said: “We take Mr Bolt at his word.

“We’re very pleased with how he’s responded and that’s our position.”

Referring to Bolt’s weekend press conference, Hooper said: “He’s very upbeat, very positive, very focused on delivering for his fellow countrymen in the relay events.

“He has said what he’s said and I don’t wish to comment on the journalistic work of the Times.”

Defending the Commonwealth Games, Hooper said: “We’re not trying to be the Olympic Games.

“We’re about the celebration of the Commonwealth, sport and culture within the Commonwealth, and what a fantastic event we are seeing here in Glasgow.

“These Games continue to go from strength to strength.”

He stressed the Games would “evolve positively in Gold Coast in 2018” and added: “We are who we are and proud of it.”

Jamaica sprint team-mate Jason Livermore was asked if Bolt was enjoying Glasgow, and said: “I hope so, better than me.”

Asked what he meant, Livermore back-tracked, saying: “It’s been lovely so far, the people in Scotland are very welcoming, I can’t complain. Nice atmosphere, nice crowd, I’m enjoying myself.”

Asked how he was coping with the food in the village, Livermore said: “Ooof, sometimes.”

Pressed for more details, he said: “I can say, I won’t say.”

Livermore looked to be feeling the cold ahead of his 200m heat on Wednesday morning and said: “It’s very cold here, I need to put on some clothes, I’m freezing.”

Shona Robison, Scottish Government cabinet secretary for Commonwealth Games and sport, welcomed Bolt’s clarification and expressed her delight at the success of Glasgow 2014.

Robison said: “Usain Bolt has described the comments in the media today as nonsense and dismissed them outright. Glasgow is fantastic and the Games have been amazing on so many fronts, so well organised and a great experience for everyone involved.

“That is what everyone who has been here has said. Visitors and athletes are feeding back that they are having a great time and I think speaks volumes to what the real story is about these Games and about Glasgow and Scotland.”

ends