Sport

Dramatic end

Bolt closes stellar athletics career with agonising tumble but refuses wheelchair and walks across finish line

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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It wasn't the perfect ending that the world had hoped for. However, even as Usain Bolt folded onto the track in agony from a hamstring cramp while anchoring the Jamaican 4x100m team in his final competitive race, it was clear that global athletics will miss him.

Although the tumble denied Bolt one final medal, the sprint legend, after apologising to his teammates, refused a wheelchair and limped across the finish line at the 16th IAAF World Championships in London to end what has been an outstanding career.

It's the nature of the man who left the world wide-eyed and O-mouthed when he broke the 100m and 200m records at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, then lowered both marks at the Berlin World Championships in 2009.

Over the past decade Bolt has won 156 of his 168 races and now has eight Olympic gold, 11 World Championship gold and a Commonwealth gold.

In his column posted on the Daily Telegraph website last night, the newspaper's Chief Sports Feature Writer Oliver Brown stated: “Losing Usain Bolt to athletics is like losing the air. He is an elemental presence; the one figure capable of elevating a humble foot race to a mid-summer blockbuster.

“When he begins life on Sunday as an ex-athlete, his last race run, he stands to be missed more than even he, with his carefree Caribbean swagger, can comprehend.”

Pointing out that Bolt takes 41 strides to cover 100m when most of his rivals needed 44, Brown stated emphatically that “Bolt saved athletics at a time when few realised it needed saving. He became supra-national, belonging as much to Jamaica as to the world.”

Indeed, Brown pointed to a most appropriate quote from IAAF President Sebastian Lord Coe to describe Bolt: “I can't think of anybody else besides Muhammad Ali who has captured the public imagination or a global audience like Bolt,” Lord Coe said. “He has gone way, way beyond athletics.”

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