Retiring track star Usain Bolt says athletics has turned a corner as it battles with the fall-out from the Russian drugs scandal and corruption allegations against the former leadership of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Laughing with reporters and shimmying with a troupe of semi-naked samba dancers, the Jamaican sprint star declared he was ready to launch his bid for a “Treble-Treble”.
“For me I think we’re going in the right direction, I must say,” Bolt said.
“We’re weeding out the bad ones. I personally think we’re on the right track.
“We have to go through the rough time to get to the good times. And in a few years’ time the sport will be cleaner and everything will be great.”
Although the Russian doping scandal exposed the sophisticated lengths that drug cheats were prepared to go to avoid detection, Bolt said he was unconcerned about the possibility that he might be lining up against rivals in Rio who aren’t clean.
“In life nothing is guaranteed. But for me going out there, I never worry about it,” he said.
“For me I go out there to compete and wow the crowd and entertain. I just want to compete.”
Usain Bolt poses at a press conference
Photo: The Jamaican performs his trademark “Lightning Bolt” pose at the press conference. (AFP: Adrian Dennis)
The 30-year-old icon has vowed to sign off from athletics after next year’s World Championships in London.
Before that he will attempt to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay Olympic titles for a third straight Games in Rio.
“This is the last one for sure,” he said.
“I’ve done enough. I’ve proven myself over and over again, this is the last one.”
Bolt is set to face another duel against two-time convicted doping offender Justin Gatlin in both the 100m and the 200m in Rio.
Gatlin, owner of the fastest time in the world this year (9.80 sec), could be the biggest threat to Bolt’s hopes of defending all three of his crowns.