Even before stepping on the track, Usain Bolt is causing a stir at the Commonwealth Games.
A day after mingling with British royalty at the Glasgow athletes’ village, Bolt scrambled Wednesday to deny that he made derogatory comments about the so-called “Friendly Games.”
The Jamaican sprint star, who is only competing in the 4x100 relay here, was quoted as telling The Times of London on Tuesday that he was “not really” having fun in Glasgow and the games were “a bit s---.”
Bolt took to Twitter to complain about the comments attributed to him, writing: “I’m waking up to this nonsense..journalist please don’t create lies to make headlines.”
The Times story remained unchanged Wednesday on its website, and reporter Katie Gibbons tweeted that the “full conversation” would be published in Thursday’s paper.
The Times newspaper’s Scottish editor, Angus Macleod, said: “We stand by this story 100 per cent. We have utter confidence in this story.”
When approached for comment in the stands while watching Jamaica’s netball team on Wednesday, the six-time Olympic champion’s management team turned away reporters and blocked them from asking questions.
“Awesome” was Bolt’s only comment later when other reporters shouted questions to him before security staff helped him leave the venue.
Games organizers were quick to defend Bolt, who is due to make his first track appearance all year in Glasgow following a left foot injury.
Bolt, who met Prince William, his wife Kate and Prince Harry on Tuesday, is due to run Friday in the relay heats. The final is on Saturday.
“I think the matter has really been clarified by the man himself, and I thank him for that,” Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said. “We really do look forward to him running a fantastic race with his teammates later this week ... I think if he was really that unhappy we would know about it.”
Bolt, who won three gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, was also quoted as telling The Times that “the Olympics were better” than the Glasgow Games. Comparisons between the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, which features former British colonies, have been a regular part of media coverage of the Glasgow event.
“We are not trying to be the Olympics but we understand the comparisons,” Hooper said. “We have our own product and our own image that we promote. We are proud of that and want to see it thrive.”