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.