Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow 2014: Usain Bolt says Games slur claims are 'nonsense'

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Media captionBolt described the Games as "awesome" after watching a netball match at the SECC

Usain Bolt has described claims he made disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games as "nonsense".

The Times newspaper quoted the Olympic 100m champion as saying he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow.

Bolt said on Twitter: "I'm waking up to this nonsense.. journalist please don't create lies to make headlines".

He later told reporters he thought the Games were "awesome", but the Times said it was standing by its story.

The newspaper's Scottish editor, Angus Macleod, said: "We stand by this story 100%. We have utter confidence in this story."

It is understood the reporter who wrote the story has "verbatim notes" of her conversation with Bolt.

Bolt did not comment when asked about the Times article as he arrived at the SECC to watch Jamaica play New Zealand at netball.

The 27-year-old athlete appeared relaxed, posing for photographs and signing autographs before joining in with a Mexican wave.

As he left the venue, he shouted "awesome" to reporters who asked how he felt about the Games.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Bolt took to Twitter to dismiss the newspaper claims

His manager, Ricky Simms, earlier told the BBC the newspaper allegations were "utter rubbish".

Mr Simms added: "The atmosphere in and around the stadiums has been absolutely fantastic and I have absolutely no idea where these quotes have come from."

The Times claimed Bolt had been waiting in the rain for his car to arrive shortly after meeting members of the royal family at the athletes' village in the east end of Glasgow on Tuesday.

It quoted the world 100m record holder as saying the Glasgow Games were "a bit shit" and that he thought "the Olympics were better".

Bolt, who has been staying in the athletes' village, then left "to do some business", according to the newspaper's report.

By Neil Johnston, BBC Sport

Usain Bolt turned up to watch the Jamaican women's netball team take on New Zealand after denying claims he made disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games.

The Times newspaper quoted the Olympic 100m champion as saying he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow.

But Bolt was all smiles as he appeared during the second quarter of the match at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre at 11:50.

Bolt, flanked by other Jamaican team-mates, looked relaxed and signed autographs for fans during the interval.

He also smiled for photographs from fans sat around him.

However, media were ushered away from Bolt when they tried to approach the sprinter.

Bolt did not reply when asked by BBC Sport on his arrival at the SECC if he was enjoying his time in Glasgow.

He later took part in a Mexican Wave. If he really is not enjoying his time in Glasgow, then he is doing a fine job at disguising it.

A huge cheer went up as his face appeared on the big screen. One elderly lady approached him and whispered something in his ear before patting him on the shoulder. Bolt responded with a beaming smile.

Speaking after winning his 200m heat on Wednesday morning, Jamaican sprinter Jason Livermore appeared to suggest he was not entirely happy with life in the athletes' village.

He told the BBC that the Scottish weather conditions were "tough" for Jamaican athletes, but added "we are enjoying the Games" and "honestly we can't complain".

When asked what he was making of life in the village and life in general, Livermore responded: "Well it can be better - things can be a little bit better for us. Can be better in a lot of sense. We have to just enjoy and give God thanks."

However, Livermore declined to reveal what specifically he was unhappy with, adding: "I won't say. I won't say".

The Jamaican team's press attache, Laurel Smith, told BBC Sport that he believed Bolt may have become frustrated at not being able to "roam about".

He added: "But it was like that at London 2012. He basically goes to training and comes back.

"You can only play so many video games in your room. He's a free spirit, but it requires security organisation when he wants to roam.

"He even gets a bagman to get his food from the canteen because it would create too much of a stir if he was there.

"But one thing is for sure, he is enjoying himself in Glasgow."

Bolt, who has never before competed in a Commonwealth Games, will not participate in any individual events in Glasgow 2014.

However, he has agreed to run in the heats of the sprint relay on Friday. The final will be held at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Five-times Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave said he did not believe the Games were a priority for Bolt, whose season has been hampered by a foot injury.

He said: "When you're a world megastar as he is, the Olympics is his platform, the world platform that he's looking for.

"I don't think the Commonwealth Games has captured his imagination or he'd have been trying to compete in all the events that he normally competes in instead of just the relay, so that's a little bit disappointing."

'Brilliant time'

The arrival of Bolt, a six-time Olympic champion, in Glasgow at the weekend sparked a media frenzy, with Bolt facing a barrage of questions on subjects ranging from the respective political situations in Scotland and Gaza (no comment on either) to whether he wanted to play football for Manchester United (yes).

Responding to the Times article, a spokesman for the Commonwealth Games Federation said: "The Glasgow Games have so far been fantastic and everyone there, including the competing athletes, seems to be having a brilliant time.

"Usain Bolt must just be having an off day."

The federation later said it was "pleased" with Bolt's response to the newspaper report.

Chief executive Mike Hooper said: "We take Mr Bolt at his word. We're very pleased with how he's responded and that's our position."

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Media captionFans react to reports that Usain Bolt criticised Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games

Referring to Bolt's press conference appearance on Saturday, Mr Hooper added: "He's very upbeat, very positive, very focused on delivering for his fellow countrymen in the relay events.

"He has said what he's said and I don't wish to comment on the journalistic work of The Times.

"We're not trying to be the Olympic Games. We're about the celebration of the Commonwealth, sport and culture within the Commonwealth, and what a fantastic event we are seeing here in Glasgow.

"These Games continue to go from strength to strength."

Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle added: "I think he (Bolt) woke up to the story like everyone else.

"His tweet says it all. He has woken up to something he didn't believe he said yesterday."

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