Usain Bolt said a current or former promising sprinter “disrespected” him, but he has not said which one.
Bolt was asked Tuesday if he could name anybody who could fill his shoes as world’s fastest man after he retires following the world championships (Bolt begins racing Friday on NBC Sports and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA).
“I’m not going down that road,” Bolt said in London, which hosts worlds at the 2012 Olympic Stadium. “The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me. So I’m not going to say who’s going to be great. I’m just going to leave it to whoever shows up and is willing to fill my shoes will fill my shoes.”
Bolt did not name the disrespectful sprinter. Media speculated Andre De Grasse, the 22-year-old Canadian who took silver and bronze behind Bolt in the sprints at the Rio Olympics. (Update: De Grasse is now out of worlds with a strained hamstring)
De Grasse’s coach reportedly claimed Bolt had meet organizers exclude De Grasse from his last 100m race in Monaco on July 21 to make it easier for Bolt to win. The following day, Bolt’s team, a meet official and even De Grasse denied it.
So is De Grasse the disrespectful sprinter? Maybe not. Recall that Bolt was asked last month about the next wave of sprinters, before De Grasse’s coach’s comments came out.
“I’ve learned not to call names, you know what I mean, because over the years I’ve noticed that some youngsters, really no matter how much you give them props, I’ve learned that they don’t show the respect to a lot of the athletes that have really helped them to pave the way throughout the years,” Bolt said. “So, for me, I stopped saying who’s going to be the next Usain or who’s going to shine.”
It’s clear Bolt’s perceived lack of respect from a sprinter or sprinters is not a new feeling. Bolt was asked to describe his relationship with De Grasse on Tuesday.
“I don’t know,” Bolt said after having the reporter repeat the question. “Um, I see him around. I say hi. That’s it, I guess. I don’t know how to describe that because I don’t have his number or anything, so I just say hi.
“I don’t know where his career’s going to go in the future … but in the past he’s won a bronze medal, he won a silver medal, shows he has talent. We’ll see what happens in the future. It’s all about consistency.”
In June, De Grasse mentioned an aim to defeat Bolt at his last worlds. Bolt was asked about De Grasse later that week.
“All I have to say to De Grasse is take your time and work your way up to the top,” Bolt said.
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