Bolt lashes out at 'cheat' Gay ahead of World Championships
World record holder Bolt says reducing rival Gay's drugs ban to one year was 'stupid'
Usain Bolt has launched a stinging attack on one of his rivals, claiming Tyson Gay has no place in the sport and labelling his one-year ban for failing three drugs tests, "stupid".
The world's fastest man will compete against Gay later this summer in the World Championships in Beijing, reports The Times, but it quotes interview with Runner's World magazine in which Bolt said he was "not looking forward" to the 100m showdown.
Bolt told the magazine: "It really bothers me. 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."
Gay's longevity is impressive. The 32-year-old American was the dominant sprinter at the 2007 World Championships, winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. But then Bolt burst onto the scene, winning back-to-back Olympic 100m and 200m titles at the 2008 and 2012 Games, and establishing new world records in both events.
Gay has been living in the Jamaican's shadow ever since and in July 2013 tested positive for a banned substance, leading to his withdrawal from that year's world championships. Admitting that he had used the substances before the 2012 Olympics, Gay was also stripped of the 100m silver medal he won in 4x100m relay at the Games.
But Gay's ban was reduced to just one year after he cooperated with the US Anti-Doping Agency, implicating his then coach, Jon Drummond, a former Olympic sprint medallist. Drummond was subsequently handed an eight-year ban for "possessing, trafficking and administering drugs".
But Bolt views with distaste Gay's deal with anti-doping agency. "I was really upset about that," he said. "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... it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The message should be: ‘If you cheat you're going to be kicked out of the sport.'"
Bolt's words comes at a time when, according to The Times, athletics is "mired in a drugs epidemic" with allegations that doping is widespread among Russian athletes. The Olympic champion believes that only by meting out swingeing punishments will the epidemic be brought under control. "You have to drive fear into athletes, to make them think about the consequences of their actions," said Bolt. "If they're getting an easy penalty why would they care?"