Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the end of an era – Usain Bolt has retired from athletics.
The Jamaican has been the face of the sport ever since the 100m world record bowed down to him in 2008. Since then, the 30-year-old has garnered an astonishing eight Olympic and 11 World Championship gold medals.
London 2017 wasn’t the final hoorah that Bolt had been waiting for, however. He waved goodbye to individual competition with an underwhelming third place finish in the 100m, behind Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin.
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Nevertheless, the 4x100m relay presented the perfect opportunity to dispel those demons and end on a high with the help of his teammates.
The stage was set and Bolt received the baton in a competitive position from Yohan Blake who ran a storming bend. Team GB and the United States were just ahead of Jamaica’s anchor runner.
Bolt never made it through the line, though, as injury struck with 60m to go. The great man pulled up with a strike of cramp as the home team romped to victory.
It was a sad ending that nobody predicted nor wanted to see. And while his career has been blighted with injury, this is the first time that his fitness has caught up with him mid-race.
That being said, teammate Blake, has offered a diagnosis since the race and it seems the IAAF might have to foot some of the blame.
The second fastest man in history, as per the Daily Mail, stated: “I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long.
“Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy. 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run.’
‘We kept warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us. We were over warm.
“To see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that. The race was 10 minutes late and we were kept 40 minutes. Crazy.”
So while Sir Mo Farah was soaking in his lap of honour, the Jamaican relay team were left twiddling their thumbs in the cold London air. As Blake explains, that clearly caught up on who Bolt was left to hobble out of the sport.
Yet, when not a single other athlete had such problems, you’ve got to take the comments with a pinch of salt even if Bolt was a veteran in the field.
The man himself evaded journalists after the race so Bolt’s personal explanation might have to wait. Blake’s comments may fall short but it goes to show that the IAAF didn’t do any favours for their sport’s greatest son.
Then again, one hamstring pull can’t unravel a legacy.
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