Home News IAAF sides with Bolt...

IAAF sides with Bolt on Rogge comments

Aug. 23, 2008, 6:29 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The president of the IAAF disagreed with IOC head Jacques Rogge's comments about the behavior of Usain Bolt after the Jamaican's world record races at the Olympics, saying such occasions merit extraordinary celebrations.

"No, no, I did not mind," Lamine Diack said Saturday.

Rogge criticized Bolt for showing a lack of respect to other competitors after his record-breaking gold medal performances in the 100 and 200 meters.

"It is normal actually for him not to come back" once he crossed the line, Diack said, considering the enormity of the achievements.

The 100 meters is perhaps the most cherished record in athletics and the 200 was considered one of the toughest to beat. Bolt did both in four days.

Even the Jamaican government came to the defense of its star athlete.

"It is an unfortunate comment at this time, especially when we are driving young people to become more involved," government minister Edmund Bartlett said of Rogge's comments.

"We have to see it in the glory of their moment and give it to them," Bartlett said of the 22-year-old Bolt. "We have to allow the personality of youth to express itself."

Before reaching the line in the 100 final, Bolt glanced around with arms outstretched and pounded his chest.

He made little effort to congratulate the other runners as he wrapped himself in a Jamaican flag and set off on a solo victory lap.

"He should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not make gestures like the one he made," said Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

Diack agreed, though, that as Bolt matures as a person, he will show more consideration for others.

"He has to learn from this," Diack said in a wide-ranging interview with small group of journalists.

He called the 200 victory of Bolt and the breaking of Michael Johnson's world record of 19.32 by .02 seconds the highlight of his games so far.

"This 200, I was not expecting," he said. "Not this time. He was fantastic. We are very privileged to have this."

With his flashy personality and outsize performances, Diack said Bolt was exactly the right man to help the sport recover from a spate of doping scandals.

"He is good and great for our sport," Diack said. "He can help to build up our sport."