Bolt steals show in Rio with Press Con­fer­ence Samba dance

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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

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