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Athletics: Bolt insists he's clean ahead of London return

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt insisted Thursday he was a clean athlete and that fans could trust him despite recent failed drugs test by the Jamaican's sprint rivals Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay.

"I was made to inspire people," Bolt told a London news conference, ahead of his return to the Olympic track on Friday where he will run in the 100 metres at the Diamond League Anniversary Games.

"I was given a gift, I know I'm clean. For me it happens (failed dope tests), I'm not going to stress about it," added Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder.

Bolt's compatriot Powell, the former 100m world record holder, tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine at Jamaica's national trials last month and is still waiting to discover if his 'B' sample confirms the original finding.

United States sprinter Gay tested positive for the same stimulant in May.

Bolt, 27 next month, refused to condemn either of his rivals on Thursday.

"There's a lot of details to be discussed, I'm just waiting to see what's going on," he said.

"I spoke to Asafa, it's tough, it's hard. I told him to stay strong," said Bolt, who in London last year repeated his Beijing Games feat of winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m Olympic gold medals.

"In life you learn anything is possible. You have to be very careful as an athlete, there are a lot of things on the banned list."

Asked how dejected athletics fans could "trust" him, Bolt replied: "How long have you been following Usain Bolt?

"2008? If you've been following me since 2002 you know I've been doing phenomenal things since I was 15. I've broken every record there is to break.

"Right now I'm living out my dream. I've shown throughout the years I've always been great."

As for British athletics great Sebastian Coe's call to increase standard doping bans from two years to four years, which would see athletes who failed a drugs test miss the next Olympic Games, Bolt said: "I don't make the rules, I can't determine how hard things should be.

"That's whey we have the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency)."

Another Jamaican athlete, Sherone Simpson, has also tested positive for the same stimulant as Powell.

Both athletes, through their agent, have mentioned supplements they were given by their trainer as a possible cause for the positive tests.

However, athletics' 'strict liability' rule means competitors are held responsible for what goes into their bodies and Bolt, while praising the team around him, acknowledged his own duty in complying with the rules.

"I have a great team around me. They make sure everything goes smoothly but I am also careful myself.

"I get tested all the while. I got tested the day before yesterday (Tuesday), it's just part of the routine. I'm clean.

"Every athlete takes vitamins, I don't really take supplements."

Bolt, in London this week as part of his preparations for next month's World Championships in Moscow, said. "Hopefully we can move past this... it's definitely going to set us back a bit as a sport.

"I just have to focus on the World Championships, run fast, and hopefully make people forget about this.

As for suggestions the banned list of substances was now too complicated and liable to entrap athletes who were not seeking a competitive advantage, Bolt replied: "If it's banned, you just try to avoid it. If there are rules, you follow them, that's the game of sport."

Meanwhile Bolt, who has also won five world titles, added he was looking forward to returning to the scene of his 2012 triple gold triumph

"It's a great memory, for me it was a wonderful experience. The most moving thing was the amount of people in the stadium.

"Beijing was a mind-blower, my first Olympic gold medal. At London, I was expected to get a gold medal and I stamped my class.

"I really enjoy competing in London, it's like competing in Jamaica. I get a lot of support and I feed off that."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130725/athletics-bolt-insists-hes-clean-ahead-london-return-0