Usain Bolt said goodbye to the 100m track as he finished third, beaten to silver by 21-year-old Christian Coleman in a close-run finish. However, it was Justin Gatlin, the controversial American, who has twice been banned for doping, who snatched the gold from Bolt’s grasp as he finished in 9.92 seconds.
It was another slow start for Bolt but with half of the race to go, he was inching towards the front but in the final metres, it was Justin Gatlin who emerged from the outside lane and edged in front of the rest as the pantomime villain took gold, the win was understandably met with a loud chorus of boos.
Usain Bolt, the man who had restored the public’s faith in Athletics after several doping scandals was tonight beaten by a doper. After Bolt beat him in 2015, it was said that he saved the sport. This loss was a sad end to his career, but he still bows out with it untarnished as he leaves behind a decade-long dominance and a legacy that will last for generations.
The warning signs were evident in the build-up after he was second in the semi-final, and was just the 8th fastest qualifier in the heats. But nobody envisaged Bolt losing, especially not to Justin Gatlin. It was a body-blow to the sport which has done lots to clean up its image, but ultimately failed to rid itself from doping scandals.
Bolt has been the savour of Athletics. He alone has been able to keep the public eye firmly locked upon that tanned, bronze running track amidst all of the controversy. At a time when doping is rife, belief in whether Athletics is a clean sport is at its lowest and it was plunged into further doubt tonight. Bolt has carried the sport himself, without him, the sport would have died. He is not just the most appealing figure in Athletics, but of all sports. Andy Murray, Anthony Joshua, Cristiano Ronaldo… nobody comes close to Usain Bolt. But as he leaves, who else will take on that mantle?
Usain Bolt isn’t like any other athlete. For so long Bolt has been able to overcome adversity. When questions are asked, Bolt always answered them without hesitation. When others would be cowed by such a huge crowd, Bolt was simply galvanised by it. The more pressure heaped upon him, the better he performed. But tonight was a step too far. The man who has been unbeatable for nearly 10 years had finally lost.
The crowd was left stunned in silence after the shocking result, but reacted by chanting Bolt’s name, as he did a lap of honour around the London Stadium which showed he was still centre of attention with Justin Gatlin a mere sideshow.
Bolt leaves the 100m track with a medal haul of 8 Olympic gold medals, 11 World Championship golds and two word records in the 100m and 200m.
It was a good night for Team GB as Reece Prescod, who had only ran three senior 100m races before this World Championships, made it through to the finals and at the age of just 21, he has huge potential. It is thanks to Bolt’s legacy and dominance that there are a group of up-and-coming sprinters including silver-medalist Christian Coleman, who may one day beat his world record.
How will Athletics cope after another controversial medal has been won by 2x doping cheat Justin Gatlin without the one and only Usain Bolt to save them?