Even though he has said multiple times that this would be the final individual race of his career, Usain Bolt who came up short in the final individual race of his career, finishing third in the 100-meter dash at the World Track and Field Championships in London, will always be remembered as the world’s fastest man.
Bolt still broke ten seconds, finishing with a 9.95, but was a hundredth of a second behind American Christian Coleman and three hundredths behind gold medalist Justin Gaitlin. Bolt will still compete next Saturday in the 4×100 relay.
Since breaking into the spotlight at the 2008 Olympics, Bolt has been the face of track and field for nearly a decade, breaking records in the 100m and 200m. Between his dominance on the track and personality off it, he will go down as one of the greatest Olympians in history.
Gaitlin, while thrilled with his championship, took a moment to praise Bolt after the race.
“We’re rivals on the track but in the warm-down area we still joke and have a good time,” Gatlin told BBC Sport.
“The first thing he said to me is, ‘congratulations, you worked hard for this’. He said, ‘you don’t deserve the boos’ and I thanked him for inspiring me throughout my career.”
However, Gatlin claimed the continually frosty reception in London had not fazed him.
I tuned the crowd out through all the rounds,” he said. “I stayed the course, I kept my energy through the semis and came to the finals and did what I had to do.
“The people who love me are here cheering for me, at home cheering for me and that’s what I’ve been thinking about.”
The American said the feeling was “surreal” but relished in taking the top step of the podium and recalled his triumph at the Olympic Games in 2004.
“It’s just a surreal moment. I thought of all the things I would do if I did win – I didn’t do any of that,” continued Gatlin.
“It was almost like 2004 all over again. I won by a little margin and to be able to come across the line and have that excitement it’s still amazing because its Usain Bolt’s last race.
“I’ve had so many victories, so many losses, and to be able to run against him throughout the years, it’s an amazing night.”