Bolt’s ca­reer comes to a painful end

The Washington Post Sunday - - PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL - BY RAF CASERT

lon­don — Usain Bolt ended his stel­lar ca­reer in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain. The great Ja­maican run­ner crum­pled to the track with a left leg in­jury as he was chas­ing a fi­nal gold medal for the Ja­maican 4x100-me­ter re­lay team Sat­ur­day at the world cham­pi­onships.

Hav­ing to make up lots of ground on the an­chor leg, Bolt sud­denly screamed, stum­bled and som­er­saulted as he came down, his golden farewell shat­tered by the first in­jury he has ex­pe­ri­enced at a ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion.

That wasn’t the only sur­prise in the re­lay: Bri­tain beat the United States in a tight fin­ish. 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.

“He is still the best in the world,” said Justin Gatlin, Bolt’s Amer­i­can ri­val who ended up with 100-me­ter gold and re­lay sil­ver.

Bolt’s team­mates on the on­ce­fa­bled Ja­maican sprint squad were far from un­match­able, too. Bolt just had too much to make up in the fi­nal 100 me­ters as both Bri­tain and the United States were ahead and Japan was even.

As Bolt fell to the ground, the leg with the golden shoe giv­ing way, the crowd still went wild be­cause the home team went on to win gold in 37.47 sec­onds, 0.05 sec­onds ahead of the United States.

“It’s a cramp in his left ham­string, but a lot of the pain is from dis­ap­point­ment from los­ing the race,” Ja­maican team doc­tor Kevin Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

The race will cer­tainly be re­mem­bered for the gut-wrench­ing way in which the sport’s great­est ath­lete was forced to end his ca­reer.

“It just hap­pened,” Ja­maican lead­off run­ner Omar McLeod said. “Usain Bolt’s name will al­ways live on.”

It was yet an­other amaz­ing up­set in a cham­pi­onship of so many.

Be­fore Bolt came onto the track, he was con­sol­ing Mo Farah, his long-dis­tance equiv­a­lent who had just lost in a ma­jor race for the first time since 2011 when he failed to get gold in the 5,000 me­ters.

Farah also was bid­ding farewell to the track, com­ing up short of his fifth straight 5,000-10,000 dou­ble at ma­jor cham­pi­onships in a sprint against Muk­tar Edris of Ethiopia.

“I gave it all,” Farah said. “I didn’t have a sin­gle bit left at the end.”

In­stead, Tori Bowie was the un­likely first dou­ble gold medal­ist at the cham­pi­onships, an­chor­ing the U.S. team to the 4x100-me­ter re­lay ti­tle ahead of Bri­tain and Ja­maica.

At the same time, Allyson Felix, run­ning the sec­ond leg on the win­ning team, earned a record 15th medal at the world cham­pi­onships in a ca­reer go­ing back to 2005.

Bowie, who won the 100 me­ters this past week, ran a strong an­chor leg, leav­ing be­hind the op­po­si­tion to fin­ish in 41.82 sec­onds.

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