Updates from Thursday, July 31
Bolt denies Gibbons' report. Below is the pair's alleged exchange, per The Guardian:
Katie Gibbons (KG): Hi Usain, I'm Katie Gibbons, a reporter from The Times. Nice to meet you.
Usain Bolt (UB): Hi.
KG: How are you?
KG: So are you enjoying the games? Are you having fun?
KG: Really, why not?
UB: I'm just not... it's a bit s***. (Shrugs, looks up to grey sky).
KG: What do you mean?
UB: I've only been here two days.
KG: Is it like the Olympics?
UB: Nah. Olympics were better.
KG: Really, how?
KG: Where are you off to now?
UB: To do some business.
Usain Bolt has firmly denied claims he labelled the 2014 Commonwealth Games "a bit s**t," as noted on his Twitter account:
I'm waking up to this nonsense..journalist please don't create lies to make headlines— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) July 30, 2014
Ricky Simms, the Jamaican track star's manager, also deflected claims his client isn't impressed with the Glasgow showpiece, saying the quotes are "utter rubbish," reported by BBC News.
"The atmosphere in and around the stadiums has been absolutely fantastic and I have absolutely no idea where these quotes have come from," said Simms.
According to The Times, a grumpy-looking Bolt left the athlete's village before claiming "the Olympics were better", he was "not really" having fun in Scotland and that the games themselves were "a bit sh*t". Bolt then posed for pictures before shooting off "to do some business".
Such quotes certainly appeared out of character for Bolt, whose happy-go-lucky nature has become a feature of major competitions throughout his career. Now his response is public, Gibbons indicated there may be more to the story when asked about her report:
Bolt is the type of individual to embrace his surroundings and the crowd—highlighted by his infamous "Mobot" alongside Mo Farah at the 2012 London Olympics—so the reported outburst would have come as a real surprise.
The 27-year-old was initially expected to overlook the games but was "flooded" with messages of support from Scottish fans, according to Kevan Christie of the Scotsman. That said, he will only appear in the 4x100m relay and opted against competing for this year's individual titles.
Kemar Bailey-Cole, Bolt's teammate, did cause a stir when winning the 100m final. He noted food at the London Olympics was "way better than" offerings in Scotland, saying he "can't compare" the two, per Telegraph Sport.
Even so, these comments barely compare to the serious nature of those attributed to Bolt. The sporting icon remains the biggest draw in athletics and will be frustrated by having his reputation targeted with reports of unhappiness.
The reaction of David Meikle, Conservative Councillor for Pollokshields Ward on Glasgow City Council, highlights the danger of misreporting such comments:
Usain, can quite frankly, bolt. The #Glasgow2014 games have been great and successful without him. Maybe he should stick to adverts.— David Meikle (@cllrdmeikle) July 30, 2014
Jamaica's most famous sportsman will now have to dust himself off in time for his heats. Scottish crowds have reacted excellently to competitors from all regions at the games, creating an exciting and sporting atmosphere with their enthusiasm. It will be extremely interesting to see if Bolt is booed or receives a louder cheer in light of the situation.
He is expected to lead the Jamaicans to a comfortable victory in the relay and will want to focus on making headlines through sporting success, not offensive comments.