Bolt answers critics

By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Newspapers
BEIJING - It’s 1:30 a.m. and the world’s fastest man is in a partying mood. Jamaican dancehall music blares from the speakers of the dance club, and Usain Bolt is already glistening with sweat.
Photographers press in around Bolt, who is rocketing to fame as fast as he sped along the 100-meter and 200-meter Olympic track, smashing world records.
For a moment, the photographers press a little too close. Bolt grabs the microphone, calls the Deejay to quiet the music and pleads: You may be able to take some pictures but right now we just wanna dance. Give us two hours. We just ask for two hours.'' Cheers go up from the Jamaicans in the crowd, and soon Bolt is shaking and shimmying to dancehall rap star Elephant Man, smiling broadly and arching back in his trademark gesture of glee and celebration, the same kind of flamboyant move that keeps drawing reproving remarks from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. But Bolt won't be tamed. While Michael Phelps won an unprecedented eight gold medals for swimming, claiming title as a top Olympian of all time, the 22-year-old Bolt takes another trophy as the iconic champion of fun, reveling in his celebrity and showing the crowd how to enjoy life. At a news conference later Sunday, Rogge was asked again about criticism he made of Bolt's gestures and dance steps after winning the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. I’ll repeat what I have said: He should show more respect for his opponents. But I also said in the same way that he was a young man of 22. He has time to mature,’’ Rogge said.
Earlier in the week, Rogge, a patrician Belgian surgeon who once sailed yachts in the Olympic Games, suggested that Bolt’s showboating'' did not display the spirit of the Olympic ideal.’’ He suggested Bolt should shake hands with losing sprinters, and rebuffed Bolt’s gestures after crossing the finish line. It was perceived as 'catch me if you can.' You don't do that.'' For his part, Bolt said flamboyant fun on the field is a part of who he is. I talked to the other athletes, these guys, and most of them are okay with it,’’ Bolt said during a promotion for Puma Saturday in Beijing. I try to enjoy myself at all times. That's how I stay relaxed. That's who I am and I won't change.'' The showboating’’ that Bolt displayed in the Bird’s Nest on Aug. 16th for the 100-meter dash and again Aug. 20 in the 200-meter dash went beyond draping a Jamaican flag over his shoulders. He took off his golden spikes and kissed them, swayed to reggae music from the stands, did a shaky-leg waggle dance, and opened his arms in a gesture that some interpreted as mocking his opponents. He also cocked back in a stance seemingly of an archer shooting into the stands.
Bolt, who turned 22 on Thursday, said he thinks spectators want to sense of what kind of athlete he is.
The fans . . . also come out to see what you're like, your personality,'' Bolt said. I don’t see any problem with it because a lot of people really enjoy watching me just performing. So I’ll stay the way I am because that’s my personality.’’
Puma, the German shoe company that trails larger competitors Nike and Adidas, seems to agree that Bolt should do whatever he pleases after becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the Beijing Games.
Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz announced before the crowd of fans in the club that his company had bought a fully loaded BMW M3 dream car that would be waiting for Bolt on his return to Jamaica.
News media in Bolt’s home island of Jamaica dismissed Rogge’s criticism.
The 'Bolt needs to grow up' mutterings of Olympic boss Jacques Rogge smack of the sour grapes resentment of a dried-up old man jealous of the exuberance of youth,'' columnist Kevin O'Brien Chang wrote Sunday in the Jamaica Gleaner, the island's largest newspaper. Another Kingston daily, the Jamaica Observer, said in an editorial Sunday that the behavior the IOC chief sees as unseemly, disrespectful and immature’’ from Bolt is part of the face of Jamaica we like to sell our tourists, whom we greet with song, dance and unbridled joy as opposed to a stiff upper lip, meaningless small talk and other diplomatic gestures of insincerity.'' It went on to quote a line from a song by reggae legend Bob Marley: We are what we are, that’s the way it’s going to be.’’

Rogge has displayed publicly, by crapping on his biggest asset, what many insiders have muttered privately (before resigning) that he is a stupid man who has surrounded himself with sycophants and has no grasp on reality- let along the true scope of the job he’s stumbled into.

BTW, the title of the article should be changed to ‘Bolt Answers His Critic’ because there is only one.

How would it be if Bolt decides not to run in Belgium because he believes he can’t control himself and his natural flair might offend Mr Rogge again; and he doesn’t want that on his conscience.

I wonder how the Belgian sports fans would react to Bolt reluctantly choosing not to go to Belgium.

I’m tipping if there was a popularity contest between Bolt & Rogge, the IOC head honcho might not want to know the result.

btw, Bolt’s wonderful donation and vist to the earthquake victims was worth more ‘gold’ in humanitarian tems than anything the entire collection of freeloading IOC delegates have done for the last 2 weeks.

No kidding! The complaining I heard was based on arbitration panels and that Rogge had done absolutely nothing as of a few weeks ago. The successful games themselves had to do with China, plain and simple, and Rogge was along for the ride.

Dance around after winning the Olympics and setting quite possibly the premier world record in sports, and you’re treating other people inappropriately.

Do what China has done the last century or so, and hey, you can have the Olympics.

Got it.

Rogge sure knows his nuances.

Rogge and his pals need to go back to what they do best: Visit potential host cities and then complain that their luggage has gone missing and demanding replacement of their many Armani suits and Rolex watches. Amazing how their luggage managed to get lost at EVERY stop.

Everybody watches T&F in the Olympics. Unfortunately, not too many watch it any other time. People these days want some entertainment, not simply good performances. I am as old-school as old-school can be, but I say Bolt and his “inappropriate” behavior are he best thing that has happened to track in years. The sport needs glamor and personality and personalities, hence the value of Vlasic and Isinbayeva and now Bolt. More power to them. People like Tyson Gay are wonderful runners and terrific guys, but they will not fire up the public interest and imagination. Cassius Clay (at the time of the Olympics) went far beyond Bolt’s antics and he singlehandedly rescued boxing in most of the world for a generation. Bolt can help do the same for T&F. Keep it up, Usain. Track is back!

Thats a good idea. I might have to try that one. Satan struck a deal with idiots that he would promote them to any any extent in this world.:smiley: It always seems like the least competant people always receive the higher-up positions.

Why people from different parts of the world need to celebrate in the same way as people from the Rolex Pepe Club in Belgium?

Maybe this younger generation from Jamaica do not shake hands the way the Rolex boys do?

Bolt needs to be more in their faces! And not only him tough.

What a snob that wimp is!

Steve Ovett said it himself last night on Australian Channel 7 - “I love it. Bring it on.”