Jul 25, 2013, 9:26 AM EDT
Usain Bolt must have known he’d face questions about the latest track and field doping scandal going into his first competition since Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell admitted to testing positive for banned substances.
Sure enough, he was asked if the public could trust him in a news conference Thursday, one day before he runs at a Diamond League meet at London’s Olympic Stadium.
Bolt “rolled his eyes,” according to Reuters, and explained how he’s been setting records since he was a teenager.
“I was hoping that question would come later in the day,” he said. “How long have you been following me — since 2008 maybe? If you’ve been following me since 2002, you would know I’ve been doing phenomenal things since I was 15. I was the youngest person to win the world juniors. I ran the world youth record at 17. I’ve broken every record there is in every event I’ve ever done. For me, I’ve proven myself since I was 15. I’m just living out my dream now. I was made to inspire people and made to run. I was given a gift and that’s what I do. I know I’m clean, so I’m just going to continue running and using my talent and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Bolt’s case for being clean is that he’s been posting elite times for more than a decade. Unlike some athletes who have doped and gone on to dramatically lower personal bests or leapfrogged their peers all of a sudden, Bolt’s always been more or less a constant.
“Hopefully we can move past this,” Bolt said of the recent doping news, according to Agence France-Presse. “It’s definitely going to set us back a bit as a sport.
“I just have to focus on the World Championships, run fast, and hopefully make people forget about this.”
Bolt will run the 100 meters in London at 4:48 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, one day before the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. Bolt won triple gold in London, just as he did in Beijing in 2008. This is his first meet in London since the Olympics.
His track club, Racers, is also entered in the 4×100 relay Saturday. So look for Bolt to possibly anchor that quartet as well.
On Thursday, Bolt said the only substances he’s ever taken are legal vitamins, that he was surprised about the recent drug-test news in track but wouldn’t comment, according to the Telegraph.
“Every athlete takes vitamins,” Bolt said, adding he was drug tested on Tuesday. “But I don’t really take supplements.
“I’m clean. You have to be careful as an athlete, but I’m not worried because I have a great team around me. As a person I make sure I’m careful as well. You have to trust the people around you because they check everything you’re taking to make sure it’s not on the banned list. They read the fine print.”
Bolt did say he texted Powell, his fellow Jamaican whom he took the 100-meter world record from in 2008.
“I’m not going to stress about it (doping),” Bolt said. “I know I am clean and I just want to improve the sport and that is what I am going to do.”
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