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Thu Apr 24 14:42:59 SAST 2014

Bolt plans to sneak skipping rope into Games

Justin Palmer, Reuters | 07 August, 2012 15:370 Comments
Olympics Day 11 - Athletics
Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks on after competing in the men's 200m round 1 heats on day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, plans to smuggle the skipping rope he uses to train into the Olympic stadium after an official took it off him on his way in to Sunday’s 100 metres final.

Games chief Sebastian Coe promptly ordered an investigation.

But the Jamaican sprinter said on Tuesday that he had also been irritated when an official told him to “stay in a straight line” before his 100m triumph, the showpiece event of the Games, watched on television by hundreds of millions worldwide.

“Oh my God, why are there so many rules?! You can’t do nothing,” he told reporters after opening the defence of his 200m title with an easy heat win.

“It’s weird, some of the rules. I was coming in a while ago and I had my skipping rope in my bag and they said I can’t bring it in. I was like, ‘Why?’. ‘It’s just the rules’,” he said.

“I am going to do it tomorrow ... I am going to stick it under my bag, bottom of my bag or something.”

Coe, the Games chief, said skipping ropes were “not expressly banned”.

“I will look at this,” he said. “I presume the skipping rope was a warm-up aid so I will look at that.”

Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said the skipping rope was taken from his athlete in the call room before the race.

“If it was taken away before the stadium, then that is not correct,” said organising committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle. “If it was taken before he entered the field of play (track), then that is probably correct. We are still looking into it.”

  OTHER GRIEVANCES

But Bolt had other grievances about the preamble to the 100m final, arguably the most high-pressure event of the Games, which he won with the second fastest run of all time.

“I was at the line and the guy was telling me to line up, to stay in a straight line. I’m like, ‘Really? We are about to run and you’re going to tell me to stand in a straight line?’. It’s kind of weird, these rules, which doesn’t make any sense to me personally.”

As if all that was not enough, Bolt and his rivals also had to ignore a water bottle being thrown onto the track behind them just before the starter’s gun fired.

Bolt’s victory, in a new Olympic record time, gave his home nation of fewer than 3 million people an extra reason to celebrate on the eve of its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Bolt’s Jamaican training partner Yohan Blake won silver while a third Jamaican, Asafa Powell, finished last after struggling with a groin injury.

Their compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown won gold and bronze respectively in the women’s 100 meters on Saturday.

Bolt, who turns 26 this month, has more than 714 000 followers on Twitter and is arguably Jamaica’s most famous son since the late reggae singer Bob Marley.

At the Beijing Games in 2008, Bolt won three golds — in the 100 and 200 metres and the 4x100m relay — all in world record times.

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