LONDON – A man who threw a bottle at the finalists of the Olympic men's 100 meters was arrested by London police on Sunday night and has been charged with creating a public nuisance.
Seconds before the starter's gun went off and with the runners already positioned in their blocks, a beer bottle sailed from the stands and landed close to podium finishers Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and Justin Gatlin.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Yahoo! Sports that the suspected culprit, 34-year-old Ashley Gill-Webb, was immediately detained. On Monday he was charged with intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress under section 5 of Britain's Public Order Act. He has been released on bail and will appear in Thamas Magistrates' Court on September 3.
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"A man was arrested inside the Olympic Stadium earlier this evening on suspicion of creating a public nuisance," the spokesperson said. "The man had been heard to shout abuse and seemed to throw a plastic bottle onto the track immediately prior to the men's 100-meter final."
Creating a public nuisance is a common law offense in the United Kingdom and can carry a punishment of a custodial sentence, a fine, or both. For an infraction such as that which took place, a fine would be the most likely outcome, although British lawmakers have been keen to clamp down on any incidents that affect the reputation of the Games.
Bolt appeared bemused when asked about the bottle throwing at the press conference that followed his second-straight 100-meter gold medal for romping home in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds.
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"I didn't know about it," he said of the incident. "I just heard about it."
Judo bronze medalist Edith Bosch of the Netherlands claimed on her Twitter account that she had been watching the final from near the start line and had physically "beat" the man responsible for the bottle.
"I don't promote violence," Bolt said when told of Bosch's claim. "So I'm sorry to hear that."
American Gatlin, who came in third place with a personal best time of 9.79, told British sports writer Owen Gibson that he was "aware of the distraction," according to Gibson's Twitter account.
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