The Jamaican sprint superstar completes emotional lap of honour in London
As Usain Bolt took to the track for his final lap, he paused at the 200m mark and then again at 100m.
“I was saying goodbye to fans and I’m saying goodbye to my events also,” explained the Jamaican sprint superstar as the IAAF World Championships in London came to a close. “These are my two events that I have dominated for years. I was just saying goodbye to everything.”
It took some time. It’s quite some career to bid farewell to, after all.
As the world record-holder bowed to the crowds and did his signature ‘To Di World’ celebration, it felt like the whole of London – indeed the whole athletics world – had risen to their feet.
The track legend didn’t enjoy the fairytale ending he might have been hoping for, but after the Rio 2016 Olympics, where he completed yet another sensational sprint triple, he had promised fans another season, so that’s what he did.
“My fans wanted to see me compete for one more year,” Bolt told a packed press conference in the bowels of the London Stadium after the final session of the 10-day championships. “Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished everything over the years.
“If I could come out here and give the fans a show, that’s fine with me. That’s all I wanted.”
Bolt had hoped to cap his major championships career with success in the 100m and 4x100m relay in the UK capital.
But the 30-year-old leaves London with a first world bronze and a leg injury for his efforts. Those won’t have been the memories at the forefront of fans’ minds on Sunday evening, however. Earlier on, in front of the crowd, Bolt had been presented with a special piece of the London 2012 track on which he stormed to three of his global golds – lane 7 from which he won his 100m and 200m titles.
“One championship doesn’t change what I’ve done,” Bolt acknowledged. “After losing the 100m someone said to me, ‘Muhammad Ali lost his last fight so don’t be too stressed’. I have shown my credentials throughout my career so losing my last race isn’t going to change what I’ve done in my sport.
“I’m always going to leave everything on the track. Everything happens for a reason. I don’t know why this happened but I personally feel that everything happens for a reason.
“I’ve proven that by working hard, anything is possible.
“I personally feel this is a good message to kids: Work hard, be strong and just push on.
“If I can leave something like that to the younger generation, then that’s a good legacy to leave.”