City backs 'awesome' Usain Bolt

GLASWEGIANS have sprung to the defence of champion runner Usain Bolt after reports he bad-mouthed the Games.

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Glasgow fans have given their backing to Bolt
Glasgow fans have given their backing to Bolt

The Jamaican sprinter was reported to have called the Games "a bit s***", while waiting for his car outside the Athletes' Village in Dalmarnock on Tuesday.

A national newspaper claimed Bolt said "the Olympics were better" and that he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow.

The next morning the Jamaican sprinter took to Twitter to dismiss the comments as "nonsense" and "lies".

Yesterday he said he was having an "awesome" Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and did not respond to questions about the reports.

His manager, Ricky Simms, said the story was "utter rubbish", and 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 Evening Times took to the streets of Glasgow to find out what locals and visitors thought about the superstar's alleged remarks, and the backlash which followed.

Jack Johnston, 16, from Bishopbriggs and his mum Jackie, 48, both backed Bolt after meeting him yesterday.

The star was near St Mungo's High School in Shettleston when the family spotted him and stopped for a picture.

Jack said: "I don't think he said it.

"He was totally fine yesterday, and seemed to be really enjoying himself. He's a decent guy."

Mum Jackie said: "I think it's a lot of hype, and I think people are just making trouble for the sake of it.

"It's bad enough that he's come all this way over here to compete in the Games and then for people to say that about him.

"He was great yesterday, we got pictures with him and he was talking to all the kids."

Glasgow comedian Limmy said he was unsure about the truth of the comments, and said: "It would be out of the ordinary for him to say that.

"If he was in that bit (the Athletes' Village) and compared it to what he has seen at the Olympics, well, plenty of people here might say that too.

"The fact is, everybody here seems to like it.

"What's important is that we all keep positive about the Games and the city."

Chris Gallagher, 65, a writer from Townhead, said: "I think he must be under a lot of pressure to compete and maybe he was distracted.

"He is a wonderful athlete and he's coming over here to race.

"He's probably tired, everyone wants to see him, take pictures and meet him.

"It is a lot of pressure for one guy to put up with.

"I think even if he did say that, I doubt he meant it. He might just have had a bad day - everyone does."

Jessica Turnbull, 23, a student from the West End said: "We have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"The Commonwealth Games are not on the same budget as the Olympics anyway, but you can't believe everything you read."

Andrew Woods, 18, a student from Motherwell, said: "He's one of the most famous athletes around at the moment.

"Whether it's a genuine statement on how he actually feels is another story, there may be other reasons for him saying that.

"I think the Games have been very successful so far, certainly, walking around Glasgow, I've never seen it so vibrant.

"I don't imagine that he'd genuinely say that and mean it."

Roisin Petticrew, 28, a residential child carer from Knightswood said: "I think with anywhere you have to make the most of your time in a place.

"We're never going to know, he would never admit to saying that anyway, so it's just one of these things.

"Maybe he said it, but he didn't mean what he said?

"He's probably under pressure and not actually getting to enjoy the city the way everyone else gets to."

Either way, the sprint star is sure to get a hero's welcome when he walks out at Hampden.

hannah.rodger@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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