Bolt steals show in Rio with Press Conference Samba dance
EVEN among the many physical attractions of Rio, one man who can stop the place dead is Usain St Leo Bolt. His only rival in that department is the traffic. He has remained the single great clean icon in these troubled times for athletics, though on the eve of his attempt to win a third treble of Olympic sprint titles of 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, he could not entirely duck the question of where his sport stands.
But in a press conference at the Cidade Das Artes – a concrete jungle of a cultural centre – and beamed live back to Jamaica, he was unsure that he will competing in a fair competition.
“In life nothing is guaranteed,” said Bolt. “But I never worry about that. That is down to WADA and IOC to deal with. I go to compete and wow the crowds. But I think the sport is going in the right direction. We are weeding out the bad ones.
“Sometimes you make allowances for superstars but we don’t have the luxury of many people being able to get single rooms,” said Ludlow Watts, the Jamaican team manager. Despite the privilege, there was no TV in Bolt’s quarters and the world’s fastest man had to buy his own.
Despite his stardom there are still tickets available for the 100m final on Sunday, a terrible statement on these Olympic Games. If Bolt vs Justin Gatlin is not enough to attract people to the stadium, what on earth is?
Bolt, 29, has even taken to Twitter to call on fans to attend.
What will they see if they do? The word from Jamaica is that Bolt could dip below 9.7sec. That may be so, especially on what is a fast track. His build-up has been less problematic than in other years though he paid a visit earlier in the year to his German doctor Hans-Muller Wohlfarrt, who administers extracts of crests of cockerels among his many strange potions.
“In really good form,” was the verdict of one well-placed Jamaican observer, though it should be noted that Bolt’s fellow countrymen can be a bit partial. Even the journalists turned up here in team kit.
But if they are right and Bolt does register a time in the 9.6’s, it is likely to be too much for American Gatlin, the twice-convicted drugs cheat, who has set the fastest time of the year, 9.80sec, as against Bolt’s 9.88sec.
It might just be worth taking Ladbrokes on their 2-1 price for the treble. “I was unhappy to miss the trials but I am executing well in training,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Chad le Clos is embracing his rivalry with American legend Michael Phelps ahead of Tuesday night’s (this morning) 200m butterfly showdown at the Rio Olympics.
It all started back in 2012 in London, where the 20-year-old Le Clos stunned his boyhood hero to win gold in the event and announce himself on the world stage.
Now, four years later, Le Clos is not the starry-eyed kid he once was.
In fact, before his semi-final on Monday night Le Clos was not holding back in the “ready room” as he jabbed and danced his way around Phelps.
“Oh, did they catch that? Dammit,” Le Clos joked. “It is what it is. It can get tense in there.” Phelps’s reaction was priceless as he stared down Le Clos with a disgusted look on his face.
Le Clos was all smiles as he continued his bouncy pre-swim routine.
“From my side there is no real tension. I’ve no emotion when I’m racing,” he continued.
“I’ve trained really hard for this and of course there’s a huge rivalry between Michael and myself.
“I’ve a lot of respect for him. Last year there were definitely spoken words ... a lot of it was misquoted. At the end of the day, I’m a racer. I race to win and I want to beat Michael and he wants to beat me.”
But, judging by the heats and semi-finals, Le Clos’s main competition may not even come in the form of Phelps with the Hungarian duo of Laszlo Cseh and Tamas Kenderesi well in the mix.
“Like I said before the Games, it’s me and seven other guys. Nobody expected me to win four years ago so I’d be an idiot to say it’s just me and Michael or just me and Laszlo (Cseh),” Le Clos said.
“I’ve nothing but respect for these competitors. This is a tough stage to be on. Tomorrow night ... may the best man win.”— Sportsmail.
Usain Bolt dances with with samba girls at an event in Rio as he prepares for the athletics