Usain Bolt
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Usain Bolt discusses viral photo on TODAY

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By now, if you follow the Olympics, you have seen the photo at the top of this story. It shows Usain Bolt calmly looking backwards and smiling at his opponents, who are straining just to stay in the frame during the 100m semifinal in Rio.

The photo, captured by Getty Images’ Cameron Spencer, went viral and quickly became a meme.

The world’s fastest man was asked about the photo during an interview on TODAY this morning.

“People kept on saying, ‘Why were you smiling?’” Bolt said. “I was like, ‘I was just happy!’”

The appearance began a busy day in New York for Bolt, who hosted at least two Facebook Lives and wore the referee-inspired Foot Locker uniform during an appearance for Puma.

Bolt was asked who will win the 100m gold medal at the 2020 Olympics during a Facebook Live with Sports Illustrated. While Bolt admitted that a lot could change between now and then, he identified Canada’s Andre De Grasse as a potential favorite. De Grasse, the sprinter on the far left of the viral photo, won three sprinting medals in Rio, including the 100m bronze medal.

“I know he has the talent,” Bolt said.

Bolt added little clarity to the ever-changing narrative of when he will retire.

During the TODAY appearance, he reiterated that he would retire after the 2017 World Championships in London. Later in the day, he told Sports Illustrated that there was a chance he would keep racing after 2017.

“It’s definitely slim, but you never know,” he said. “That’s why my coach says, ‘Stop saying you are going to retire. Enjoy it, and after the season, if you feel like it’s time, then you retire.’”

Bolt, jokingly, even left the door open to retiring from track before the 2017 World Championships.

“If I had the chance to play for Manchester United, I would go right now,” he said on his personal Facebook Live. “I would retire and start playing futbol right now. That’s how much I really want to play for Manchester United.”

Bolt also discussed his post-track plans, for whenever that will be.

He wants to open a health clinic in Jamaica to help young athletes get medical treatment. He also is hoping to stay involved in track and field, but not as a coach.

“No, that is not going to happen,” Bolt said, laughing, during his personal Facebook Live. “I’ll do motivational talking, I’ll do all these things, but I don’t think I’ll ever go into coaching. Coaching is just so much, it’s hard. The stress I put my coach through and all that…sorry, I know I disappointed a lot of people.”

He does not plan in following in the footsteps of U.S. sprinters Ryan Bailey and Tyson Gay, who have tried bobsledding.

“It’s already cold in a jacket in the snow,” Bolt said in Sports Illustrated’s Facebook Live. “To be in full tights? No.”

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Salwa Eid Naser, world 400m champion, provisionally banned

Salwa Eid Naser
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Salwa Eid Naser, the world 400m champion of Bahrain, was provisionally suspended for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span.

“I’ve never been a cheat. I will never be,” Naser, 22, said in an Instagram live video. “I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.”

Naser said “the missed tests” came before last autumn’s world championships, where she ran the third-fastest time in history (48.14 seconds) and the fastest in 34 years.

“This year I have not been drug tested,” she said. “We are still talking about the ones of last season before the world championships.”

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases for track and field, did not announce whether Naser’s gold medal could be stripped.

“Hopefully, it’ll get resolved because I don’t really like the image, but it has happened,” she said. “It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Naser, the 2017 World silver medalist, upset Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas for the world title in Doha on Oct. 3.

The only women who have run faster than Naser, who was born Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother who sprinted and a Bahraini father, were dubious — East German Marita Koch (47.60) and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99).

“I would never take performance-enhancing drugs,” Naser said. “I believe in talent, and I know I have the talent.”

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When Laurie Hernandez winked at the Olympics

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Blink, and you may have missed one of the social-media-sensation moments of the Rio Olympics.

Laurie Hernandez, then 16, was the youngest woman on the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. She was about to start arguably the most important floor exercise routine of her life.

So, she winked.

“The amazing thing about the Olympics is that you feel so many different emotions in the span of a few days, and they are all intense,” she wrote in her 2017 book, “I Got This,” a nod to what she told herself before her balance beam routine earlier that night. “So it was nice to have at least one totally playful moment.”

The U.S., on its fourth and final rotation, already had the team gold all but locked up. Knowing she was nervous, Hernandez’s teammates confirmed to her that they were a few points ahead.

Then Hernandez heard the beep, and it was time to go. She was in the view of an out-of-bounds judge at the Rio Olympic Arena.

“Well, I looked straight at her and suddenly felt this surge of confidence to wink,” she wrote. “Later, a woman came up to me while I was watching Simone [Biles] and Aly [Raisman] compete in their all-around finals and she said, ‘Wow, I just want you to know that when you winked at the judge, it really worked.’ I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, ‘Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say.’ That’s when she told me she was the out-of-bounds judge! All I could say was ‘Oh my goodness.'”

Hernandez, a New Jersey native, finished the Olympics with a team gold and balance beam silver.

She took more than two years off before making a comeback in earnest last year, announcing she planned to return to competition this spring under new coaches in California. Now that’s on hold given the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

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