Even before stepping on the track, Usain Bolt caused a stir at the Commonwealth Games.
A day after mingling with British royalty at the Glasgow athletes’ village, Bolt scrambled Wednesday to deny that he made derogatory comments about the so-called "Friendly Games."
The Jamaican sprint star, who is only competing in the 4×100 relay here, was quoted as telling The Times of London on Tuesday that he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow, and using a word that derided the caliber of the games.
Bolt took to Twitter to complain about the comments attributed to him, posting: "I’m waking up to this nonsense … journalist please don’t create lies to make headlines."
The Times defended its reporting, claiming on its website that Bolt performed a "U-turn" when he described the games as "awesome" on Wednesday.
"We stand by this story 100 percent," said Angus Macleod, the newspaper’s Scottish editor. "We have utter confidence in this story."
The paper also published an apparent transcript of the interview, starting with reporter Katie Gibbons identifying herself as being from The Times.
Asked if the event was like the London 2012 Olympics, the six-time Olympic gold medalist is reported to have said: "Nah. Olympics were far better."
When approached for comment in the stands while watching Jamaica’s netball team on Wednesday, Bolt’s management team turned away reporters and blocked them from asking questions.
"Awesome" was Bolt’s only comment later when other reporters shouted questions to him before security staff helped him leave the venue.
Games organizers were quick to defend Bolt, who is due to make his first track appearance of the year in Glasgow following a left foot injury.
Bolt, who met Prince William and Prince Harry on Tuesday, is due to run Friday in the relay heats. The final is on Saturday.
"I think the matter has really been clarified by the man himself, and I thank him for that," Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said. "We really do look forward to him running a fantastic race with his teammates later this week … I think if he was really that unhappy we would know about it."
Hooper was also not concerned about comparisons between the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, which features former British colonies.
"We are not trying to be the Olympics but we understand the comparisons," Hooper said. "We have our own product and our own image that we promote. We are proud of that and want to see it thrive."