Breakdown and heartbreak as Bolt bows out

2017-08-14 09:37

Breakdown and heartbreak as Bolt bows out

Jamaica's Usain Bolt does a lap of honour during day ten of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium.  [Photo/VCG]

LONDON - Usain Bolt took a last leisurely stroll around the track, placed his hands over his heart and then pointed toward the stands, where barely a soul had left.

The running had been over for nearly 30 minutes. As always, though, Bolt had a way of making everybody stay.

The world championships came to a melancholy close Sunday with an on-track tribute to the man who made the sport fun again. There were 11 gold medals at stake on a frenetic final day in London, and yet it was the sight of the hobbled champion walking slowly around the track — stopping to kneel at the starting lines for the 100- and 200-meter races he dominated for a decade — that made for the evening's best theatre.

"I think I almost cried," Bolt said. "I was just saying goodbye. That was it. Saying goodbye to my events. Saying goodbye to everything."

The United States says goodbye to London in possession of 30 medals, the most it has ever taken from the worlds. Of those, 10 were gold, including the capper in the women's 4x400 relay final, where Allyson Felix won her 16th medal to finish as the most-decorated athlete of all-time at the worlds.

Felix also won gold in the 4x100 relay, but the bronze she took in her only individual event, the 400, makes this a less-than-perfect trip for her.

In that way, she's got something in common with Bolt. Between the bronze medal in the 100 and the hamstring pull and tumble to the track that ended his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay — and still made him wince when he had to negotiate big steps around the stadium — the championships went nothing like he planned.

"Someone tried to blame me, and said I started it," Bolt said of a 10-day run filled with upsets and surprises. "It was just one of those things. It was one of those championships where everything does not go your way."Winners on the final day included:—Caster Semenya of South Africa, who added the 800-meter gold to her 1,500-meter bronze from earlier in the meet.

There's not a household name in the bunch, and though all the performances were remarkable in their own way, this sport's lack of star power with Bolt out of the mix is hard to gloss over.

Agencies

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