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Usain Bolt talks doping in advance of world championships

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Usain Bolt in Beijing: Star Talks Doping Scandals and Running Clean


BEIJING (AP) -- He set world records, won Olympic gold medals, danced on the track and made the sprint game feel fun again.

One thing Usain Bolt cannot do, he insists, is serve as the lone savior for track and field.

"I can't do it by myself," Bolt said Thursday.

Back in Beijing, where he set three world records and won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, The World's Fastest Man is preparing for the world championships this time around.

SEE ALSO: IOC ready to act if Olympics medals affected by doping

But his news conference Thursday was less about reminiscing and more about the topic that has swallowed up his sport of late: Doping.

"People say I need to win for the sport," he said. "But there are a lot of other athletes who are running clean, and they've been running clean their whole career. It's not just on me but on all the athletes."

A report this summer from German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times in Britain found that 146 Olympic and world championship medals in middle- and long-distance races were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests. The International Association of Athletics Federations has strongly denounced the report while defending its anti-doping practices.

Even while his own country, Jamaica, has come under scrutiny for its less-than-robust anti-doping program, Bolt has remained unscathed. But when he lines up in the final Sunday (assuming he makes it), his main competition figures to come from American sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay and Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell, all of whom have served doping suspensions over their careers.

One reporter equated the race to a showdown between good (Bolt) and evil (Gatlin). Neither runner bought into that.

"I'm not trying to win any popularity contests or win anybody over," Gatlin said in an interview with The Associated Press, shortly after Bolt's news conference ended. "I'm trying to do what I'm supposed to do. Hopefully my actions on the track will show that to the people who really care. That's all that really matters."

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Usain Bolt talks doping in advance of world championships
Usain Bolt of Jamaica turns to look at Andre De Grasse of Canada as they compete in the Men's 100m Semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, August 14, 2016. Kai Pfaffenbach: 'When Usain Bolt prepared for his 100m semi-final I decided to play with slow shutter speed for that race. I set my camera (shutter speed) to a 50th of a second and was waiting for the moment when he passed my position. At the very right moment he looked to his left with the proud smile and my first thought was: "hopefully I got this sharp." Well, I've been a lucky bunny in this case but I still would not have imagined at this moment that this picture would go viral and get worldwide recognition.' REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. SEARCH "2016 PIX" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FILE PHOTO: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after his team won the men's 4x100m relay athletics final in the National Stadium during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 22, 2008. Usain Bolt has lost one of his nine Olympic gold medals after Jamaica team mate Nesta Carter was found guilty of doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo
Jamaican sprinter and GQ Man of the Year Usain Bolt poses at the GQ Men of the Year Party in West Hollywood, California, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 20: Jamacian sprinter Usain Bolt poses at the Daegu Bell prior to the lAAF World Athletics Championships, on August 20, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Puma)
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 02: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning his men's 200 metres semi final during day seven of 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium on September 2, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 03: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates claiming gold in the men's 200 metres final during day eight of the 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Daegu Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - MARCH 06: Prince Harry poses with Usain Bolt at the Usain Bolt Track at the University of the West Indies on March 6, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica. Prince Harry is in Jamaica as part of a Diamond Jubilee Tour, representing Queen Elizabeth II, taking in Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 04: (L-R) Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrate victory and a new world record in the men's 4x100 metres relay final during day nine of 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium on September 4, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Usain Bolt of Jamaica leads James Dasaolu of Great Britain in the Men's 100m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Usain Bolt of Jamaica acknowledges the crowd ahead of the Men's 100m A race on day one during the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games - IAAF Diamond League 2013 at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 26, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Sainsburys)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 11: Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) crosses the line to win gold ahead of Kemar Bailey-Cole of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States and Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica in the Men's 100 metres Final during Day Two of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 11, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 11: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning gold in the Men's 100 metres Final during Day Two of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 11, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt wins the 100 metres final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on August 11, 2013 while a lightning strikes in the sky. Bolt timed a season's best 9.77 seconds, with American Justin Gatlin claiming silver in 9.85sec and Nesta Carter, also of Jamaica, taking bronze in 9.95sec. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN / AFP / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 17: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning the gold medal in the Men's 200 metres final during Day Eight of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica kisses his gold medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men?s 100 metres on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 27: Usain Bolt of Jamaica kisses the track after crossing the finish line to win gold in the Men's 200 metres final during day six of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 27, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17: Andre de Grasse of Canada (L) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) react as they compete in the Men's 200m Semifinals on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 19: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 01: Usain Bolt, sprinter, ninefold olympic champion and elevenfold world champion with green glasses during the Oktoberfest at Schuetzen-Festzelt /Theresienwiese on October 1, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)
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Gatlin, who has this year's best time at 9.74 seconds, can race because rules specifically ensure that an athlete who has doped can return to the sport if he's served out his suspension. Some find this unfair. Bolt doesn't want to wade into that debate, either.

"Rules are rules and are there for a reason," Bolt said. "If the rules say you can get back in the sport, I can't do anything about it. I abide by the rules and that's pretty much all."

Bolt, who turns 29 on Friday, pointed at his left hip and described what's been holding him back this year as a joint problem that prevents him from getting to full power on his stride. He's raced in only one meet all season, where he ran a 9.87 in the 100, but said recent training sessions have been going well.

"It's frustrating when you can't go out and prove yourself," he said.

But his coach, Glen Mills, has been smiling and giving Bolt the thumbs-up after recent practice sessions.

"For me, I'm not worried about anything," Bolt said. "As long as my coach is happy."

Along with his health, some time at the news conference was spent getting caught up on the really important stuff:

-His goatee will stay for the worlds. He's superstitious and wants to stick with that look for now, and a clean shave when the Olympics come.

-At the Beijing Olympics, Bolt dined almost exclusively on Chicken McNuggets. He said there's better food available this time - and, at 29, he needs to be more careful about what he eats, anyway - so that won't be his diet.

-In 2008, his birthday fell during the Olympics, and fans at the Bird's Nest serenaded him with "Happy Birthday" - one of the many memorable moments he enjoyed that year. This time, though, it falls on the day before the start of competition. "Zero plans for tomorrow," he said. "I'm sure someone will get me a cake."

Then, the subject turned back to performance enhancers.

"All I've been hearing about the past couple weeks is doping, doping, doping," Bolt said. "It definitely is sad that it's in the forefront of the world championships, and it's not about the competition that's coming up. For me, it's sad but I can't do anything about it because you're the ones writing about it."

MORE ON USAIN BOLT:

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Usain Bolt
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Usain Bolt talks doping in advance of world championships
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17: Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt of Jamaica gestures prior to the 'Mano a Mano' Men's 100m challenge at Copacabana beach on August 17, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03: Usain Bolt attends The PUMA Store In Soho Training Event on September 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for PUMA)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17: Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt of Jamaica warms up prior to the 'Mano a Mano' Men's 100m challenge at Copacabana beach on August 17, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 29: Prince Harry meets Usain Bolt during a visit to the Commonwealth Games Village on July 29, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt watches on from the crowd during the preliminary round netball match between New Zealand and Jamaica at SECC Precinct during day seven of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on July 30, 2014 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 29: Prince Harry meets Usain Bolt during a visit to the Commonwealth Games Village on July 29, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 29: Sir Chris Hoy meets Usain Bolt during a visit to the Commonwealth Games Village on July 29, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 29: (L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Usain Bolt during a visit to the Commonwealth Games Village on July 29, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica poses for pictures as he addresses a press conference at the Main Press Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 26, 2014, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. AFP PHOTO/ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica gestures as he addresses a press conference at the Main Press Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 26, 2014, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. AFP PHOTO/ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 26: Athlete Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts to a question as he attends a press conference and photocall at the Main Press Centre (MPC) during day three of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on July 26, 2014 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt competes with Daniel Bailey (L) Mario Forsythe (C) and Kimmari Roach (R) during a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt competes against the metrobus during a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt poses for a photo and celebrates after a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt poses for a photo after defeating a bus during a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt and the bus driver poses for a photo after a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt and the bus driver talk after a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt gestures on a stretcher before competing against the Metrobus -bus that through separated lanes and stations saves time- in Buenos Aires on December 14, 2013. Bolt won a 100-meter race against the Metrobus along 9 de Julio Avenue. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt smiles as he stretches before competing against the Metrobus -bus that through separated lanes and stations saves time- in Buenos Aires on December 14, 2013. Bolt won a 100-meter race against the Metrobus along 9 de Julio Avenue. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 14: Usain Bolt celebrates with a bottle of champagne during a challenge race against Metrobus at 9 de Julio avenue on December 14, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usain Bolt holds eight world titles and six Olympic, he also owns the world records for the 100 and 200 meter dash and the relay 4 x 100 with the Jamaican team. He arrived to Buenos Aires for a series of activities in order to spread athletics. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 13: Jamaican olympic medal winner Usain Bolt attends during a press conference at Intercontinental Hotel on december 13, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/LatinContent/Getty Imges)
World and Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt (C) runs with Japanese children during a sports event at the National Stadium in Tokyo on November 22, 2013. Some 200 school kids took part in the event with Bolt. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: PUMA welcomes Usain Bolt for a book signing of his autobiography 'Faster Than Lightning' at The PUMA Store in Santa Monica at Puma on November 19, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Puma)
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: PUMA welcomes Usain Bolt for a book signing of his autobiography 'Faster Than Lightning' at The PUMA Store in Santa Monica at Puma on November 19, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Puma)
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