LONDON, August 13, 2017 – It all ended with the greatest sprinter of all time down on the ground, crumpled in agony. It also ended with eruption of joy throughout London Stadium as Great Britain’s 4x100m relay won a surprise relay gold.
The British quartet of Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Dany Talbot and Nathnaeel Mitchel-Blake grabbed Britain’s first ever relay gold medal at the World Championships with a time of 37.47, closely followed by United States and Japan. Meanwhile the defending Champions, and favorites, Usain Bolt’s Jamaica didn’t finish the race. Running as their anchor leg, and running to end his career with a gold Usain Bolt, pulled up with a hamstring cramp in his left leg and withdrew from the race in agony.
On the night that many hoped they would see a fairytale ending for arguable the biggest and best ambassador the sport has ever had, the track proved to be as unapologetic as ever, writing its own stories and own dramas.
This time though, Bolth was not beaten by any of his rivals, but rather by his own overpowering will to succeed and an injury just 40 or 50m away from the finish line.
The fans inside the London Stadium and probably billions who were watching the race from their homes, were witness to one of the most tragically adverse moments in sport - it was by no means the perfect goodbye for a true legends of the sport, but it was one that cast him as human after years of transcending speed itself.
After the race Jamaica’s team doctor had said said: “[Bolt] is feeling a lot of disappointment, by losing the race, and had the toughest three weeks.”
When Jamaica finished in 37.95 seconds, slower than Great Britain and the USA from the first heat in the morning qualifying session, many thought they are saving their energy for the final and fora textbook goodbye for Bolt’s last ever race.
The 31 year-old Jamaican started the race with purple and gold colored shiny spikes, was all smiles as he interacted with fans in true Bolt fashion. The fans in turn showed their unlimited love and support, even as they roared him on as he, limpingly crossed the finish line, on the shoulders of his teammates.
Since Usain Bolt’s victory at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, the Jamaican relay team had won gold in the past four championships, with Bolt in the starring role, and from 2008 Beijing Games had also added three Olympics titles. This means the last seven global relay championships were won by Usain Bolt’s relay team.
The Sprinters’ Nation, Jamaica, had started the night’s final race with strong quartet that include the likes of Yohan Blake, Julien Forte and 110m hurdles world champion from this championships Omar McLeod, but was not lucky enough to get their eighth successive major championship by this time.
Despite finishing his last race in heartbreaking fashion, cramp or no cramp, Usain Bolt finished his career with an undisputed superstar status. Being face and the inspiration of athletics on and off the track, with eight Olympic golds and 11 World cChampionship titles.
His teammates and competitors from last night race also showed their support and respect for Bolt, USA’s Justin Gatlin often billed as Bolt’s greatest rival said, “[Bolt] is still the best in the world” while teammate Yohan Blake was quoted as saying,” he kept asking an apology to us for not finishing the race, but we said you have nothing to say sorry, and injuries are part of the sport”
The way Usain Bolt, an irreplaceable athlete for many, not only because of his performances on the track but to his entertaining and superstar style as well, finished his career will be the highlight of the 2017 World Athletics championship in London, but he will be remembered for so much more.