The eight-time gold-winning Olympian spoke with Revolt on Wednesday about Richardson and even gave her some unsolicited advice. Just like Bolt, many people became fans of Richardson because of her confident and unapologetic personality. “I like her energy because I think she’s good for the sport because her energy is different,” he said. “It’s spicy, it’s a vibe.”
But not everyone is happy about Richardson’s personality and particularly, as of late, after coming in last place at the Prefontaine Classic almost two weeks ago. She told the press after the race “This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to. Talk all the sh-t you want, ’cause I’m here to stay. I’m not done.”
Her words received a hailstorm of responses from critics on Twitter telling her she needs to humble herself. However, Bolt is not bothered by it. He said, “Everybody is different. But, I think she brings a different spice to track and field. And sometimes sports need somebody like that to give the energy, to get people talking about it.” The father of three credited Richardson for making track and field a popular topic for people saying, “if they’re talking about it because she’s high energy and vibes, then for me, I’m okay with it.”
Richardson’s career with track and field this year has had its highs and lows. Her popularity grew rapidly after she won the 100m race at the U.S. Olympic Trials. But just as quickly as she earned the qualification for her first Olympics, it was all taken away in the blink of an eye. After failing a drug test, she was banned for two months from competing in any track and field competitions, making the Prefontaine Classic her first race since the ban was lifted.
Bolt agrees that athletes should follow the rules but is also sympathetic to Richardson, who said she smoked cannabis because she was grieving her mother, whom she lost just days before winning the Olympic Trials. “For me, I’ve always said one thing: rules are rules,” Bolt said. “They’re in place for a reason. That’s how I’ve always looked at track and field.”
He added, “I know it must be tough on her. And I’ve always said you should have people around you now to explain it, to make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again.”
As for now, Bolt is proud of the women in his home team after they have swept the gold, silver and bronze medal at the Olympics, at the Prefontaine Classic, and at the Athletissima in Switzerland. The three ladies are Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.