Usain Bolt, a known proponent of lifetime bans for athletes who purposely cheat, repeated his thoughts that former sprint rival Tyson Gay‘s reduced, one-year ban after failing drug tests is wrong.
“The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Bolt told Runner’s World, according to a Times of London article published Friday. “He got a year just because he talked to the authorities about how it was done and who helped him. That sends the wrong message: ‘If you do it and get caught, just tell us all you know and we’ll lower your ban.'”
Gay, 32, is joint second-fastest man of all time in the 100m with an America record 9.69 seconds.
Gay tested positive for a steroid in 2013 and first used a product that contained a prohibited substance on July 15, 2012, less than three weeks before his first race at the London Olympics.
He returned a silver medal won with the U.S. 4x100m relay team from the Olympics, but it has not been decided if the team will be stripped of second place behind Bolt’s Jamaican team.
A potential two-year ban for Gay was reduced to one year because the U.S. sprinter provided “substantial assistance” to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the fight against doping.
Gay returned to competition last summer, clocking a best time of 9.93 seconds as the third-fastest American and .05 faster than Bolt’s best in an injury-shortened year.
Last July, Bolt told Reuters, “Tyson Gay get just one year because of cooperating, I think it is sending a bad message into the sport that you can do it [dope], but if you cooperate with us, we’ll reduce the sentence.”
Bolt and Gay could race against each other at this summer’s World Championships, but Bolt said he is not looking forward to facing the man who was once his biggest rival.
“It really bothers me,” Bolt said in the report. “I’m not worried about him beating me, I think it’s because I respected him so much over the years. He was a competitor, kept me on my toes and he pushed me to always do my best. Then to find out that he was on drugs — it’s a bit like I think parents must feel when they have a kid who does something bad and lets them down. I feel like he let me down, and he let the sport down.”