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Usain bold, both on and off track

Usain Bolt has the bragging rights after his golden world record sprint treble and boldly told Olympic supremo Jacques Rogge that he will continue this way.

"I am a performer. I come down here to perform and if the people enjoy themselves I did well. This is my job.

"I won't change," insisted the superstar of the Beijing Olympics on Friday night after getting a thunderous reception from the Chinese crowd who have loved every minute of him.

The statement came after Bolt teamed up with Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Asafa Powell to win the 4x100 metres relay in a world record 42.10 seconds, that after bettering the 100m record to 9.69 seconds and the 200m mark to 19.30 seconds.

There have been Olympic trebles before (Carl Lewis and jesse Owens even got four in 1984 and 1936, respectively), but never with world records in each race.

Rogge had Thursday acknowledged Bolt's class but at the same time criticised his 100m antics of slowing down before the finish line and hitting his chest with his hand as disrespectful for the opposition.

But Rogge's view was dismissed around the world as old-fashioned and Powell also had a go at the IOC boss.

"Usain is out there enjoying himself. The US has done it for years.

I don't know why they are picking now to criticise people for it," said Powell.

The president of the IAAF also disagreed with IOC head Jacques Rogge's comments, saying such occasions merit extraordinary celebrations.

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

"It is normal actually for him not to come back" once he crossed the line, he 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 defence 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."

Diack said, however, that as Bolt matures, 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 Bolt's 200 victory 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."

Diack said that Bolt, with his flashy personality and outsize performances, 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."


Apart from this nit-picking, there was only joy and praise for Bolt, who himself said he had urged his teammates to do their best so that he could complete the golden world record treble.

"Bolt, the king Usain," screamed the front-page headline of French sports daily L'Equipe on saturday.

The San Francisco Chronicle spoke of "The fastest show on earth" while The Australian simply said on its website that "Usain bolts into Olympic pantheon."

"I asked the guys to give it to me and they came through. I told them 'let's go, we can do it.' Asafa just told me 'don't worry, we got this,'" Bolt said.

The relay win gave Jamaica five out of six Olympic sprint titles, with only the women's relay flopping by dropping the baton in the final.

The vast success has prompted rivals United States to probe its poor showing without a gold in Beijing. According to the Jamaicans the Americans may have to get used to sour times for a while.

"Jamaican sprinters are taking over the world - forever," said Bolt.

Powell said that Jamaica was now "the sprint capital of the world."

As after all his Olympic races Bolt had to reveal his day's food, which finally on Friday had a healthy addition to his Olympic staple of chicken nuggets.

"Truthfully, I had some salad today and I had some nuggets. But I did have some salad this time," he said.

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