Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winning Clean Is What Bolt's About

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winning Clean Is What Bolt's About

Article excerpt

USAIN Bolt had just completed his press conference after winning 200m gold at the London Olympics, his second title of the Games, and had risen from his seat when he paused for a moment before deciding he had one last message to impart.

"I am now a living legend. Bask in my glory," he proclaimed. And we did.

From any other sportsman such a statement would have reeked of unbearable arrogance, but from the Jamaican it did anything but.

He is, after all, a six-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion and multiple world record holder; he is the only man to have successfully defended Olympic 100 and 200m titles; he has run more than a tenth of a second faster than anyone else in history. Three more gold medals, including in the relay, will surely follow at the upcoming World Championships in Moscow.

That might be more than enough to warrant adulation the world over. But Bolt, crucially, has something extra - a winning personality to match the winning times.

Who else could you imagine entering the Olympic Stadium riding on the back of a missile, shades on, Jamaican flag waving, saluting the crowd as he half danced, half waved on his precompetition lap of honour at last weekend's Sainsbury's Anniversary Games. He is part athlete, part rock star. He said ahead of his appearance in London he was "made to inspire". It is hard to argue. While he does not take himself too seriously, he treats his sport with all the all seriousness it demands.

And that is plenty, given it is one which has just lurched into another doping crisis, adding credence to the cynics' claims that you cannot tell who is clean and who is dirty.

And at a time when the sport needs him most, Bolt fronts up. A fortnight ago women sprinters Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter walked out of a press conference when asked about the failed drug tests by Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay, which have shaken athletics to its core. …

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