Beijing, Aug 25: International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge stuck by his criticism of treble gold medallist Usain Bolt on Sunday, although he did acknowledge the Jamaican's world record-setting exploits had made him an icon of the Beijing Games.
Rogge, 65, had chided the gangly sprinter for his exuberant victory celebrations, urging him to show more respect for his opponents.
The comments prompted a flurry of criticism in return, along with an "I've gotta be me" response from Bolt.
"The Bolt issue I take with a big smile," Rogge said as he addressed journalists on the final day of the Games.
"I said he was an icon of games, along with Michael Phelps they are the two outstanding athletes."
"But I repeat what I said - he should show more respect for his opponents. I also said he was a young man of 22, and he has time to mature."
In fact, Rogge had earlier stopped short of according Bolt icon status, originally handing that tag only to swimming superstar Phelps, whose astonishing eight gold medals at the Water Cube were the most ever won at one games and gave him a record career total of 14.
While Bolt couldn't match Phelps for quantity, there was no doubt he delivered quality at the Bird's Nest.
He completed a rare 100m-200m sprint double with two world records, and helped Jamaica's 4x100m relay to gold in a world-record time.
The head of the International Olympic Committee's athletics commission, Frankie Fredericks, had backed Bolt in the Rogge row.
"We cannot tell a guy who's run 9.69 seconds how he needs to react," Fredericks said.