Usain Bolt tonight joked that the mobile TVcameraman who accidentally upended him from behind during his 200m victory lap after losing control of his Segway had been paid for by his US rival Justin Gatlin.
Speaking at the press conference following his completion of a double defense of his world 100 and 200m titles in the bird’s nest, the 28-year-old Jamaican said:
“I did not actually hit the cameraman. He took me out. There’s a rumor – which I can stop right now – that Justin Gatlin paid him off, so…but I’m all right, so it’s all good.”
Gatlin, sitting alongside him, added with agrin: “I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job.”
Bolt added: “I probably should get my legs insured. It was pretty scary when it happened. But I’ll be all right.”
More seriously, Bolt also hinted that he might end his career at the Rio 2016 Games, rather than the 2017 IAAFChampionships in London as he has previously indicated.
“After Rio, my sponsors and my coach said, ‘if you are not going to be serious about going to the World Championships in London, then you shouldn’t do it.’
“So it’s all about how I feel after Rio if I want one more season and I am going to be focused enough to return. That will be determined – whether I compete after Rio.
“But also one of my goals is to run under 19sec so if I want to run that I have to really push myself next season because I think that’s the only season I’ll have to really do that and I really want to go fast.”
Reflecting on how Sunday night’s victory over Gatlin in the 100m had affected his preparations, Bolt said: “Winning the100m always gives you confidence, it all helps, for sure. But the main thing I was worried about was that I didn’t race a lot through the season.
“But the rounds really helped me, so the more I ran the better I felt. After the semi-finals yesterday I felt really great so I could tell my sharpness was coming back, so. I’ve only lost once in Beijing so I wasn’t planning to lose in this one, so I was ready to go.
“As I have said, the 100m is really for other people, for my coach, but the 200 is for me because I have really put hours into running it at my best.
“I knew I had run hard to 150 for sure. I think the race was going to be decided by who got to 150 first. So I knew I had to run hard. I have never come round the corner in the second so I knew I had to run because Justin could see me. So I wanted to run the turn first and run as fast as I could to 150 and then maybe just hold my form and get home.”
Gatlin, second in 19.74, commented: “It was pretty much the same for me. I had to make sure I broke the stagger on lane five to make sure I was able to come off the turn in a good position and then hold my own going down the final 50 meters.”
Asked if he thought he had changed peoples perceptions of him during his time in Beijing Gatlin, who has been heavily criticized as an athlete back in the sport after two doping sanctions, said:
“It was never my intention to come to this championship to try and win over any fans. It was to come here and compete for to the best of my ability. That’s what my job is. I think that people saw a different view of me. I’m just a competitor, man. I have no ill will toward Susan, no ill will to anyone.”