Usain Bolt’s track career ended in agony today as he pulled up injured in the 4x100m relay – while Great Britain stormed to a sensational victory.
The sprint legend grimaced in agony and collapsed on the track on the final straight as the home team raced to victory in the thrilling final at the World Championships in London.
The British quartet of CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake pipped the United States to gold in a world-leading 37.47 seconds. The USA took silver in 37.52secs and Japan the bronze.
It was a sad end to the Jamaican’s spectacular career, which has seen him win 19 global gold medals – eight Olympic victories and 11 from the World Championships.
As Britain went on to win gold, Bolt was tended to with his head in hands.
After a short while, though, he rose gingerly to his feet and limped across the line to huge cheers from the 56,000 crowd.
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Usain Bolt pulled up injured in the 4x100m relay – his final major track race – as Great Britain pulled off an amazing feat to come first
The sprint legend grimaced in agony and collapsed on the track on the final straight as the home team raced to victory in the thrilling final at the World Championships in London
It was a sad end to the Jamaican’s spectacular career, which has seen him win 19 global gold medals – eight Olympic victories and 11 from the World Championships
As Britain went on to win gold, Bolt was tended to with his head in hands. After a short while, though, he rose gingerly to his feet and limped across the line to huge cheers from the 56,000 crowd
The British quartet of CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake pipped the United States to gold in a world-leading 37.47 seconds
Mitchell-Blake, who had to settle for fourth in the individual 200m, roared with delight at the finish in scenes similar to Mark Lewis-Francis’ cries of delight when he crossed the line at the 2004 Athens Olympics
‘This is the best feeling in the world, world champions,’ said Gemili, overlooked for individual selection for the championships.
Mitchell-Blake, who had to settle for fourth in the individual 200m, roared with delight at the finish in scenes similar to Mark Lewis-Francis’ cries of delight when he crossed the line at the 2004 Athens Olympics to earn Britain sprint relay gold.
The tale since then for Britain has been one of missed chances and baton blunders. But no more, and the joy amongst the team was evident at the finish.
‘We’re world champions, world champions,’ Mitchell-Blake said through tears of happiness.
Legendary US sprinter Michael Johnson paid tribute to the Great Britain team, telling BBC Sport: ‘An amazing and outstanding performance from that British team. They beat everyone fair and square.
‘They delivered on a night when everyone was here – not necessarily to see this.
‘Adam Gemili was just ridiculous down the back stretch. He opened up a gap that was always going to be hard for anyone to chase down.’
While Britain celebrated, though, there were contrasting emotions for Bolt in the final race of his career.
The 30-year-old pulled up on the home straight as he sought to chase down the United States and Britain, hobbling for a few strides before falling to the track.
His team-mates gathered round him and the 19-time global champion was helped to his feet and limped over the line, applauding the crowd as he did so.
It was a sad way for Bolt to bring the curtain down on the greatest athletics career the world has ever seen, a man who has dominated, delighted and delivered ever since his record-breaking runs and gold medals at the 2008 Olympics.
A golden farewell was what he deserved.
But last weekend, when Bolt had to settle for 100m bronze and drug cheat Justin Gatlin took his title, was proof enough that sport does not do fairy tales, not even for Bolt.
The Jamaican great crumpled to the track with a left-leg injury as he was chasing a final gold medal for his team
Having to make up lots of ground on the anchor leg, Bolt suddenly screamed and stumbled as he came down with his golden farewell shattered by the first injury he has experienced at a major competition
The 60,000-capacity stadium was primed for one last Bolt show, one last ‘To the World’ pose after a victory, but the injury made it blatantly clear why Bolt is ready to retire. His body can no longer hold up
For a man who has won 19 global titles, who has transformed athletics, it was a sorry way to go. But dramatic too. And Bolt does drama in spades
2008 Olympic Games, Beijing – 100m Bolt announced himself as a sporting superstar by storming to the 100m crown in a world record 9.69 seconds, even slowing down to celebrate before reaching the line
2009 World Championships, Berlin – 100m Bolt shattered his world record with a run of 9.58s to take golD
2009 World Championships, Berlin – 200m The world’s fastest man took the 200m mark to new heights by clocking 19.19
2009 World Championships, Berlin – 4x100m relay Bolt added a third gold with his Jamaican team-mates in the sprint relay in a time of 37.31
Bolt announced himself as a sporting superstar by storming to the 100m crown in Beijing 2008 in a world record 9.69 seconds, even slowing down to celebrate before reaching the line.
In the Beijing 200m, he ended Michael Johnson’s reign as world record holder by racing to victory in 19.30secs.
The 2009 World Championships in Berlin saw gold medals in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m alongside his Jamaican team mates.
Two years later, at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Bolt showed his metal by winning the 200m after being sensationally disqualified from the 100m final for a false start.
Bolt finished the championships with another gold and another world record as Jamaica won the relay in 37.04.
London 2012 saw another rush of golds for the Jamaican.
2011 World Championships, Daegu – 200m Having been sensationally disqualified from the 100m final for a false start, Bolt bounced back in the 200m, taking the title in 19.40
2011 World Championships, Daegu – 4x100m relay Bolt finished the championships with another gold and another world record as Jamaica won the relay in 37.04
2012 Olympic Games, London – 100m Bolt answered doubts about his form and fitness in emphatic fashion by defending his crown in 9.63, an Olympic record
2012 Olympic Games, London – 200m He became the first man in history to retain both the Olympic 100m and 200m titles, winning over the longer distance in 19.32 and declaring afterwards he was a ‘living legend’
2012 Olympic Games, London – 4x100m relay Bolt left the capital with another world record in the relay, Jamaica winning in 36.84
In the 100m, Bolt answered doubts about his form and fitness in emphatic fashion by defending his crown in 9.63, an Olympic record. This was followed by victories in the 200 and 4x100m relay.
The 2013 World Championships in Moscow saw another treble, bringing Bolt’s career medal tally into double figures.
Two years later, he stormed the stage in Beijing, riding to the rescue of his beleaguered sport once again, by dashing drug-cheat Gatlin’s hopes of 100m in China, accompanied by two wins in his other two favourite events.
A further triple crown was secured at the Rio Olympics in 2016, although the triumph was mildly soured by his failure to set the world record in the 200m.
2013: World Championships, Moscow – 100m The 26-year-old defied pouring rain and a drenched track to hold off Justin Gatlin and reclaim his crown in 9.77, his best time of the year
2013: World Championships, Moscow – 200m The world’s fastest man blazed to victory with an emphatic performance at the Luzhniki Stadium, storming to glory in 19.66
2013: World Championships, Moscow – 4x100m relay Bolt took his World Championships career medal tally into double figures by anchoring Jamaica to gold in 37.36
2015: World Championships, Beijing – 100m Riding to the rescue of his beleaguered sport once again, Bolt dashed Gatlin’s hopes of 100m in China. The Jamaican lived up to his billing as the saviour of athletics as he held off the challenge of two-time drug cheat to win in 9.79
2015: World Championships, Beijing – 200m Made it four straight half-lap world titles, blowing away Gatlin with a world-leading 19.55 time in front of a raucous Bird’s Nest crowd
2015: World Championships, Beijing – 4x100m relay Bolt wrapped up another event to remember by anchoring Jamaica to victory in a world-leading time of 37.36
2016 Olympic Games, Rio – 100m Bolt overcame a now trademark sluggish start to power home in the final 50m and cross the line first in a season’s best of 9.81, beating rival Gatlin into second
Bolt also triumphed in the 200m race and alongside his Jamaican teammates, pictured, in the 4x100m relay
LIFE OF A LEGEND: USAIN BOLT’S GREATEST MOMENTS
Usain Bolt brought the curtain down on his glittering career at the World Championships in London.
The 30-year-old Jamaican pulled up injured in the 4×100 metres relay, meaning he finishes with 19 global titles in the greatest career athletics has ever seen.
Here, we take a look at five of his most memorable moments:
A 21-year-old Bolt announced himself as track and field’s newest superstar with a brilliant world record to win 100m gold at the 2008 Olympics. Fuelled by a diet of chicken nuggets, he clocked 9.69 seconds, despite crossing the line with his shoelace undone and spreading his arms and slapping his chest in celebration before the finish. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge criticised his show-boating as disrespectful. No-one agreed.
Bolt cemented his status as the world’s greatest ever sprinter with two more eye-watering world records over 100m and 200m at the 2009 World Championships. He blazed to 9.58secs in the 100m – the biggest ever improvement in the 100m world record since electronic timing was introduced – and then took 0.11s off his 200m mark too, winning another gold in 19.19.
Bolt’s hopes of defending his world 100m title in 2011 were dashed by a dramatic false start in the final. He knew immediately what he had done, ripping his top off in frustration. The mistake was proof he was human after all. His response – gold in the 200m and 4x100m relay – was inevitable and emphatic.
‘LEGEND’ IN LONDON
Bolt arrived at the 2012 Olympics looking to become the first man in history to defend both 100m and 200m titles and, in his words, become a ‘legend’ of the sport. He blitzed to 100m glory in 9.63 – the second fastest time in history – and added 200m gold in 19.32. ‘I am a living legend,’ Bolt told the world’s press afterwards. ‘Bask in my glory.’
As doping and corruption scandals involving those at the very top of the sport left its credibility shredded, Bolt found himself cast as athletics’ ‘saviour’ in his sprint battles with two-time drug cheat Justin Gatlin.
The American went into the 2015 World Championships in Beijing with the four fastest times of the year over 100m, but Bolt defied the doubters to pip him to gold when it mattered, winning by just one hundredth of a second. He defeated him too in the 200m and then repeated the feat the following year at the Olympics in Rio.