LONDON – Usain Bolt has arranged a personal entourage comprising Jamaican track colleagues to shield him from the attention of other athletes in the Olympic Village.
On Thursday, Bolt was mobbed by excited Olympians when he strolled into the vast dining hall as hundreds stood to cheer and applaud the defending triple gold medalist.
Since even the biggest stars are not allowed to bring their own security into the sanctuary of the Village, Bolt has had to call upon a group of Jamaican teammates to ensure he does not face too much intrusion away from the track.
"Mr. Bolt descended on the food hall for lunch," British field hockey player Chloe Rogers said. "We were loving the whole entourage around him, including his training buddy and rival Yohan Blake."
Discus thrower Jason Morgan, shot putter Dorian Scott (who has worked part-time as a bouncer in Jamaica) and 4x100 meter relay reserve Kemar Bailey-Cole have been tasked with shadowing Bolt whenever he ventures outside the Vesta House, the apartment block in the Village where the entire Jamaican contingent is staying.
"They are with him wherever he goes," an Olympic athlete told Yahoo! Sports. "The whole [dining room] went crazy when he first came in. For a couple of minutes everyone just turned into a fan. No one actually went up and asked for an autograph but it wouldn't have been a surprise.
"I got a photo with Bolt at the Village in Beijing but that won't be happening this time around. Those guys, especially the big shot putter, won’t let anyone get close."
Bolt was able to enjoy a relatively peaceful existence in the Village at Beijing, but his profile is now far greater after winning Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 meters and the 400 relay in spectacular fashion. He is guaranteed to generate significant attention at every turn.
"The boys have got my back," Bolt said. "We are a close team and everyone looks out for each other. I want the others to win for Jamaica just as much as I want to win for myself. They help me out and I will be cheering for them."
Even his choice of food on Thursday was scrutinized. With hundreds of pairs of eyes watching him, Bolt walked past the counter for McDonald's, whose chicken nuggets he famously ate before his finals four years ago, and instead opted for grilled chicken from a Caribbean food kiosk.
Bolt begins his Olympic campaign on August 4 in the preliminary heats of the 100 meters.
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