Usain Bolt eased Jamaica to a win in a 4x100m relay heat at the Commonwealth Games on Friday night, his first race since December.
The six-time Olympic champion was handed the baton by World Championships teammate Nickel Ashmeade nearly even with Nigeria, took a small lead and downshifted through the finish line, the victory never in doubt.
Bolt crossed in 38.99 seconds. Nigeria was second in 39.11. Jamaica advanced to Saturday night’s final, where it will be favored with Bolt likely on anchor again.
“We told each other, just get [the baton] around,” Bolt said on the BBC shortly after the race. “Don’t stress too much about it because it’s the heats.”
Bolt, who had not previously raced this year because of a foot injury, was also asked by the BBC about a Times of London report earlier this week that he made disparaging remarks about Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games. Bolt denied making those disparaging comments.
“I can’t believe she actually said that,” Bolt said of the reporter. “You know me. First of all, I would never use that word if I was going to say that. But for me, you know I love competing. I’m here because of the fans, and because I want to be at the Commonwealth [Games].”
Bolt said the atmosphere at Hampden Park was “just like the London Olympics” and joked the only bad thing about his first Commonwealth Games experience was the cold weather.