Bolt: I am not track and field's saviour
Sprinting superstar Usain Bolt admitted he gets upset when the credibility of his performances is questioned because of the doping stigma attached to athletics, while adding that he believes it's every athlete's - not just his - responsibility to protect the image of track and field.
Bolt, hailed in some quarters as the shining knight for a sport that struggles to be taken seriously in the wider market largely because of a number of high-profile doping cases, says the entire fraternity shares the obligation to do everything possible to keep the sport in a positive place - starting by remaining honest.
"Yes, it's definitely upsetting (when his performances are questioned because of other high-profile doping cases), especially throughout the years when you work hard and the sport is getting a good reputation and then it slides when other athletes decide to do the wrong thing. It definitely upsets me because everybody starts pointing fingers again and starts speculating, and it certainly doesn't help the sport in any way," Bolt said.
However, despite his transcending figure in the sport and his massive global value, Bolt believes other athletes need to see the sport's growth and protection as their responsibility as well.
"There are other athletes. All athletes have the responsibility to help the sport and keep it in a positive light. I do my best. I try to run fast and I do it clean and that is what I have to continue doing. I will not say I am the only saviour of athletics. Hopefully, athletes coming up can learn and will see that I did it clean as well," Bolt added before again noting his disappointment in Tyson Gay, who tested positive for a banned substance in May 2013 but only served about a year on the sidelines because he cooperated with anti-doping authorities.
"I can't do anything about it, it's the rules. The IAAF makes the rules and they hand out the bans along with WADA and everybody. So, if they see it fit to make the rules what they are, I can't do anything about it," Bolt said.
"The only person I had a problem with was Tyson (Gay). The reason is, I competed with Tyson throughout the years and I had so much respect for him as a competitor and looked at him as one of the greatest competitors I had ever faced. He was dedicated and worked hard and I looked forward to competing against him, so when it happened I was very disappointed," Bolt said before comparing Gay's situation with that of another American, Justin Gatlin.
"(Justin) Gatlin was before my time and I am not saying what he did was right. It happened when I was just coming up in the sport but because Tyson and I competed so much against each other and I always told my friends that I could always be sure that Tyson would show up for competition; then you hear that he's is cheating. That hurts to know that someone you look up to is banned. It bothers you," Bolt said.