What a bummer – Usain Bolt bows out with bronze at worlds

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert


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    Usain Bolt didn’t deserve to end his glittering track career with a bronze at London’s world championships.

    For a decade he’d sliced through elite fields like a hot knife through butter.

    But yesterday in the final of the 100 meres, Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman lowered Lightning Bolt’s colours in a slow time.

    Gatlin stopped the clock at 9.92 seconds, Coleman 9.94, and Bolt 9.95.

    It was one race too many for the greatest track sprinter who ever strapped on spikes.

    On 36 occasions Bolt broke 9.95, and his four fastest times – a world record 9.58, 9.63, 9.69, and 9.72 were better than Gatlin’s career-best 9.74.

    But not yesterday.

    Bolt was the slowest out of the blocks, and the blistering finish went missing in action in a blanket finish.

    Usain was just a shadow of his superb self and he’ll regret starting at these championships for the rest of his life.

    He’d run his race at the Rio Olympics, claiming three successive 100 and 200-metre golds at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics.

    No-one has ever achieved that feat.

    Add three relays for Jamaica as well, and it was a history-making triple-triple gold, until Jamaican drug cheat Nesta Carter tested positive in 2017 from his original samples from the 2008 Olympics.

    Bolt, Michael Frater, and Asafa Powell were stripped of their medals – a huge penalty for three innocents – but that’s the rule, and it’s right on the money.

    The only other time ‘Lightning’ failed to win gold was his disqualification for breaking at the 2011 world championships.

    But track fans will fondly remember the eight Olympic, 11 world championship, and one Commonwealth gold medals, not to mention the charismatic way he breathed life into world athletics.

    So it was little wonder the packed London stadium loudly booed Gatlin, a two-time drug cheat who should have been banned for life the second time.

    As tennis great Maria Sharapova is finding out, the faithful are unforgiving on drug cheats. The Russian’s comeback trail has been a rough ride – and it will be the same for Gatlin for the rest of his career.

    But he couldn’t care less.

    His attitude is “just put the gold medal around my neck”.

    Usain Bolt didn’t just break world records, he butchered them.

    He lowered Asafa Powell’s 100-metre world mark from 9.69 to 9.58, and smashed the ‘unbreakable’ 200-metre record set by Michael Johnson of 19.32 by running the distance in 19.19.

    Just as there will never be another Don Bradman, there won’t be another Usain Bolt.

    It’s rather ironic but The Don ended his stellar career with a duck, Usain Bolt ended his with a first-time bronze.

    Both deserved better finales.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • August 7th 2017 @ 10:26am
      Chris Lewis said | August 7th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      Why will Bolt regret running at the 2017 world champs when he had planned to do so for 12 months?

      He got beaten fair and square. I am sure he would make no excuses.

      His record remains unparalleled in terms of winning global championships.

    • August 7th 2017 @ 11:04am
      The Brown said | August 7th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Well written David, and I am even more glad that you didn’t start the article like a lot of other Aus media “Bolt beaten by convicted drug cheat”.

      It wasn’t the ending we had all hoped, but not all sport stars get their fairytale.

      What really got on my goat over the weekend, was the reporting by a number of Aus media outlets calling for the head of Gatlin as he is a convicted drug cheat, yet on a particular sports panel program they have Paul Gallen on as a panelist. I know people will say “yeh, but its different”, but in reality, its not. Both are convicted drug cheats, yet Australians seem to want to ban all “non-Australian” drug cheats for life, yet we make excuses for our own.

      Even poor old Thomas Fraser-Holmes, yes he hasn’t been caught, but he didn’t follow protocols and missed three drug tests. If the Comm Games was that much of a priority for him I am sure he would have made time for one of the three drug tests he missed.

      Could you imagine if it was a Russian or German athlete that missed three drug tests? The Aus media would be blowing up deluxe.

      Apologies for the rant, but the double standards in Australia when it comes to drug use is astounding.

      • August 8th 2017 @ 8:53am
        jameswm said | August 8th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Not just Australia.

        Gatlin’s first offence related to his ADD medication, and miniscule trasces of it being in his system. His suspension got cancelled, and they made the point he did not cheat.

        The 2nd offence was exogenous testosterone – Gatlin said his physical therapist (who he was about to sack) used it on him in revenge. WADA said maybe he did, but you are guilty until proven innocent and it is basically impossible to prove the therapist did it.

        It’s not like he was sprung with roids or peptides.

        None of us know who has and has not been using non-approved substances, and that includes Bolt, Farah, and everyone else. Farah’s coach has a lot of question marks around him.

    • August 8th 2017 @ 4:52pm
      Ritesh Misra said | August 8th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

      Excellent piece. Yes it was not the ending almost all hoped for. It was the slow start which defeated Bolt, not Gatlin taking drugs a decade back. 2ndly its amusing to say that Gatlin defeated bolt, thats hard on the 21 year Christian who did it too, and also did so in the semi final

    • August 9th 2017 @ 2:44pm
      republican said | August 9th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

      ……..& look at the table, still no Aussie medal while NZ, yes NZ have again outdone us in sport.
      How can we justify our AIS and the money we throw at our programmes and athletes when we continue to drop further behind nations i.e. NZ, in all and sundry?

      • August 9th 2017 @ 5:59pm
        jameswm said | August 9th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

        They’ve outdone us if you look only at the medal tally to determine who has done better.

        Most look at top 8s or finalists. NZ have a very good mens and women’s shop putter, and not much else. we had 62 qualify for World Champs, a record. In fact in the womens we have eople qualified in 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5km, 10km, steeple, 100H, 400H, HJ, LJ, PV, Disc, Jav, marathon and walks – only missing 100 on the track and TJ, shot and hammer in the field, plus helptathlon. Not sure on HJ.

        Even the men have someone qualified in 400, 800, 1500, 5km, 10km, 110H, Decathlon, shot, disc, jav, LJ, PV, marathon and walks – only missing 100, 200, 400H, TJ, HJ and hammer.

        Our best athletes (Sally and the walkers) haven’t actually competed yet – or Gregson, La Caze.

        Having said that – too many of our athletes have underperformed.

        • August 10th 2017 @ 12:47pm
          republican said | August 10th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          …..not a medal to show for it and Swimming here is going the same way.
          NZ are far superior in Rowing as well, given World Cup results this year and so on it goes.
          Why do we continue to believe they require our support by inviting them to join our domestic leagues and meets?

    • August 10th 2017 @ 12:45pm
      republican said | August 10th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

      …….more excuses on your part James.
      Fact is NZ are our superior in just about any sport you care to mention, and especially pound for pound.
      We are underperforming as you like to say, in all codes and disciplines and certainly compared to NZ who have just 5 mill population compared to our 25 mill.
      That said, they do spend as much if not more on their sporting exploits I believe………

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