Teammates doubling as bodyguards for Bolt amidst fan frenzy
LONDON, England, Wednesday August 01, 2012 — The world’s fastest man also appears to be the world’s most popular man judging from reports of the hordes of autograph-hungry fans that have been dogging his footsteps in and around the Olympic Village in London.
So much so that since arriving in the Athletes' Village on Thursday, Jamaica’s sprint sensation Usain Bolt has had difficulty moving about in public.
The double world record holder in the 100m and 200m events is now being shielded from overly zealous fans by four teammates on the Jamaican track and field squad at the Games.
The four unofficial bodyguards comprise discus thrower Jason Morgan, shot putter Dorian Scott, 400m hurdler Leford Green and decathlete Maurice Smith. According to Morgan, the de facto security chief, "The (team) management says they are happy to have us here."
Team manager Ludlow 'Luddy' Watts, who described Bolt as "the star of the entire Games", nevertheless said that there were no immediate plans to move Bolt to a more private area.
"He is safe here and he does not mind, so we have no plans to move him," Watts told the media.
Bolt was seen on television monitors taking photographs with fellow Olympians and signing autographs on the infield during the parade of teams at the Opening Ceremony on Friday.
He later had to be escorted by his teammates through a throng of athletes to get back to the Athletes' Village at the end of the ceremony.
Athletes from the team directly in front and behind the Jamaican delegation in the parade — Italy and Japan, respectively — started asking for photo ops and autographs almost as soon as they got off the track, according to the Jamaica team manager.
Watts added that security personnel and volunteers were also a part of the frenzy.
Watts also said that when the Jamaican team was about to leave the village for the main stadium, which is within walking distance, a number of athletes descended on Bolt, "as if they were waiting for him to come out".
Bolt trained in seclusion in Birmingham before moving to London on Thursday with his track and field team members.