Usain Bolt denies saying Glasgow 'a bit shit'

Last updated 07:43 31/07/2014
Sydney Morning Herald

Usain Bolt dismisses making disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games, throwing his support behind his team to watch the netball.

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Superstar athlete Usain Bolt has denied labelling the Commonwealth Games are "a bit shit", dismissing quotes in a newspaper report as nonsense.

According to The Times, the world's fastest man said the Glasgow Games were "a bit shit", and that he was "not really" having fun.

"The Olympics were better," he reportedly said as he waited for his car in the drizzle outside the athletes village, having just met the British royals on their visit there yesterday.

But the Jamaican runner used Twitter to deny the report today.

"I'm waking up to this nonsense..journalist please dont create lies to make headlines," he said.

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."

 

The Times reporter who wrote the Bolt story, Katie Gibbons, said via Twitter that a full transcript would be printed in the newspaper.

The story has been seized upon by rival media organisations.

The Guardian reported today: "It is understood that while the Times have no recording of the conversation, they do have detailed contemporaneous shorthand notes.

The paper's Scottish editor, Angus Macleod, said he had full confidence in Gibbons, adding: "We stand by this story 100%. We have utter confidence in this story."

Last night Bolt turned cheerleader for the Jamaican netball team, watching from the stands as they went close to upsetting the Silver Ferns. New Zealand staged a late comeback to win 50-42.

And New Zealand administrator Mike Hooper came to Bolt's defence.

"We take Mr Bolt at his word," Hooper, the Commonwealth Games Federation chief, told reporters.

"We're very pleased with how he's responded and that's our position."

Referring back 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."

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Hooper defended the Commonwealth Games.

"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."

Glasgow has won high praise for their hosting and the Games have generally run without hitches.

As Bolt's reported comments hit the headlines Glasgow councillor, David Meikle, tweeted: "Usain, can quite frankly, bolt. The #Glasgow2014 games have been great and successful without him. Maybe he should stick to adverts."

Bolt spent part of yesterday at a reception with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, before the obligatory round of photo opportunities.

Other than that, he has kept a low profile, having earlier said he would be trying to avoid the cameras as much as possible.

Bolt arrived in Glasgow to a flurry of interest from the locals. Fellow athletes and officials have seemingly been desperate to get a ''selfie'' with the fastest man in the world.

So, why has Bolt chosen to make his way to Scotland this time around?

Earlier this week he explained that having missed the 2006 Games in Melbourne with a strained hamstring and the 2010 Delhi version because it interrupted his world championships preparation, he was keen to run at an event "that Jamaicans have always been keen to take part in".

The 4x100 metres relay heats will be his first hit-out of the year, he said, and he would have competed in the individual sprints, except for an injury that kept him out of the Jamaican team trials.

"As long as there are athletes and there are eight lanes, there is competition," he said.

When probed on whether he was actually going to run - and not just appear with the mascot and be an unofficial Games ambassador before pulling out - Bolt said with a laugh: "That is a weird question. I don't have any other reason to travel all the way to Glasgow."

Bolt promised he would definitely compete in the sprint relay heats on Friday.

- AAP, Sydney Morning Herald

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