USAIN’T

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Christo­pher Clarey

The roar had noth­ing to do with Bolt. After Bolt took the ba­ton from his team­mate Yo­han Blake to run the an­chor leg of Ja­maica’s 4x100me­tre men’s re­lay, their team was in third place. In years past, that would have been a mi­nor con­cern for Bolt, the great­est sprinter in his­tory.

This time, he be­gan to gather speed, only to pull up and shout in pain from what ap­peared to be a left leg in­jury about 60 me­ters from the finish line.

It was hardly the farewell party that Bolt had in mind when he de­cided to make this meet the fi­nal one of his ca­reer. His fail­ure to finish would nor­mally have cast a pall over the rest of the race, but it has been a frus­trat­ing meet for Bri­tain, the host coun­try. And with Bolt on the ground and the Ja­maicans out of con­tention, the gold came down to a sprint for the finish be­tween Chris­tian Cole­man of the United States and Netha­neel Mitchell-Blake of Bri­tain.

Bri­tain won by 0.05 sec­onds, finish- ing in 37.47 sec­onds to the Amer­i­cans’ 37.52. As the of­fi­cial re­sults f lashed on the big screen, the crowd cheered wildly for Bri­tain’s se­cond gold medal of these cham­pi­onships. Mean­while, Bolt ’s tea mmates rushed to help him as he lay on the track in the same sta­dium where he and his coun­try­men had set the world record in this event, 36.84 sec­onds, at the 2012 Sum­mer Olympics.

Kevin Jones, a doc­tor with the Ja­maican team, said his pre­lim­i­nary di­ag­no­sis was that Bolt had suf­fered an acute mus­cle cramp in his left ham­string, al­though Jones couldn’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a mus­cle tear. He said that a slight de­lay at the start of the race — be­cause of two medal cer­e­monies that pre­ceded it — might’ve con­trib­uted to Bolt’s sit­u­a­tion.

“It was cold back there, and the guys were com­plain­ing,” Jones said.

Blake told re­porters af­ter­ward: “They were hold­ing us too long in the call room. 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.’”

Omar McLeod, who ran the first leg AP

Bolt, the great­est sprinter in his­tory, fails to finish the an­chor leg of Ja­maica’s 4x100-me­tre re­lay due to in­jury. Leg­endary ca­reer ends in a cry of pain

for the Ja­maican team, also crit­i­cized the de­lay. “We were re­ally try­ing our hardest to stay warm and keep up­beat, but it was ridicu­lous,” he said.

But none of the sprint­ers from the teams that did win medals had a prob­lem sim­i­lar to Bolt’s, not even Justin Gatlin, the 35-year-old Amer­i­can who up­set Bolt in the 100-me­ter sprint here (and who was booed again dur­ing in­tro­duc­tions). “I per­son­ally think we were held un­der­neath the sta­dium a lit­tle too long with­out our clothes on,” Gatlin said. “It was pretty drafty, and I lost all my sweat and body heat. I think a lot of us were jostling around try­ing to stay warm a lit­tle longer than usual.”

Bolt won three gold medals at the Lon­don Games, con­firm­ing his sta­tus as one of the great­est Olympians in his­tory. He added three more golds at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but this season proved to be one too far for Bolt, who will turn 31 this month. At these cham­pi­onships, he had to set­tle for a bronze medal in the 100-me­ter race. And then came the re­lay.

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