As expected Usain Bolt drew the hordes of British media to the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel for his pre-Anniversary Games press conference.
What came next were a selection of questions that ranged from queries on his own form to his views on the current situation of friend Mo Farah and his feelings on drugs cheats.
While he didn’t come out with anything too outrageous, Bolt once again showed his passion for the sport, not least when asked about the drug issues.
Here are my highlights of what he said:
No worries for London, No worries for Beijing
He may not have raced since the New York Diamond League but Bolt is confident that he can perform well tomorrow, just as long as he “executes” everything right. Looking beyond London the Jamaican says that he has no doubts for the Beijing world champs despite his recent injury troubles.
Bolt: “[Tomorrow] is just about getting a good execution in the race because most of my races this season have been really poor.”
Bolt: I never doubt myself, I look forward to competition, Beijing is a month away, I’m not worried about that I’m just trying to take it one step at a time. I’ve been training really hard and I’ve been pushing myself, so it’s all about executing it right.”
Rain or Shine
Poor old Usain has had to deal with some fairly shoddy weather during his last few trips to the UK. After enduring the wind and rain of Glasgow in 2014 the 28 year-old now looks set to take on thunder and lighting on Friday night. Not that he seems bothered.
Bolt: “For me it’s just one of those things, you’ve just got to learn to run in different types of weather. I think I kind of get used to the weather in Britain, so I’m just happy to be here. To just go out there and to do my best.”
Keeping up the image of the sport.
In times where drug based controversies in athletics sadly seem to be never far away, Bolt’s character and performances have often offered a shining light of hope. Yet while he understands the importance of his presence in the sport, the Olympic champion was quick to the refute the idea that he solely carries the responsibility to keep the sport going. Nonetheless he admitted he was disappointed to see his rivals bring athletics into disrepute after all his hard work.
Bolt: “A lot of people have been saying that [I’m the saviour of the sport] but I think it’s not just a job for me but for other athletes also, all the athletes have to try and help the sport and keep it in a good light, I think it’s almost all of our responsibilities. I just do my best, I try to run fast and I do it clean and I think that’s just what I have to keep doing.
Frustration at his rival’s doping convictions
Bolt: “I would say definitely, especially in the years where you work hard and the sports getting a good reputation again and then you go back to the start when an athlete decides he wants to do their own thing. Definitely, it does upset me. Then everybody starts pointing fingers again and starts speculating and it doesn’t help the sport in any way.”
Sympathy for Mo
One of the most iconic moments of London 2012 was when Bolt and Mo Farah stood together on the podium exchanging their trademark poses. The pair are both represented by Pace Sport Management and so many journalists wanted to get Bolt’s take on the current scenario of the British star. Although he didn’t say much about the actual case, the Jamaican was sympathetic of the athlete’s recent issues.
Bolt: “I’ve come through the ranks with Mo so I’ve seen the work he’s put in, so for me mostly I feel sorry for Mo because he’s in the newspaper every day and they’re trying to tear him down. I think he works so hard to get where he is for somebody’s mistake to be causing him problems. So I just really hope that it doesn’t stress him out.”
Disappointed with Tyson
Given the manor to which their rivalry has been built up ahead of Beijing 2015, you may have thought that if Bolt would animosity towards any convicted doper it would be Justin Gatlin. However once again he reiterated the only athlete he has serious issues with is Tyson Gay. The reason, his prominence in the event during Bolt’s career.
Bolt: “The only person I really had a problem was Tyson. The reason is I competed with Tyson throughout the years and I had so much respect for him as a competitor because he always competed and I looked at him as one the greatest competitors I’ve ever competed against. He was dedicated, he worked hard and I really liked forward to competing with him. So when it happened I was really disappointed. So I think that’s on that really disappointed me.”
Bolt: ” Justin Gatlin was before my time. I’m not saying it was right what he did but it happened when I was just coming up in the sport. Because me and Tyson competed so closely I respected him as an athlete, it was different.”