King Bolt in rarefied field

King Bolt in rarefied field

Legend anchors Jamaica to 4x100M relay gold to complete unprecedented triple-triple

King Bolt in rarefied field

A career that altered the sprinting landscape forever made its final Olympic bow on Friday. Usain Bolt, athlete without a parallel, signed off with a flourish – another gold medal in the 4x100M relay completing an unprecedented triple-triple for the man from Jamaica.

Bolt will be back next year for one final hurrah at the World Championships but never again on the Olympic Games, an arena that he lit up with his incredible talent, spectacular performances and sunny personality.

The Jamaican, who turns 30 on the final day of these Olympic Games, leaves with a bag of records which is unlikely to be matched anytime in the near future. The latest addition came with a note of predictability when he anchored the relay squad, featuring Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake and Nick Ashmeade, to victory in 37.27 seconds, against surprise packets Japan.

With 100, 200 and 4x100 gold medals from three Olympic Games making up a tally of nine, Bolt joins another exclusive club that features Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis, also winners of nine Olympic titles.

“There you go, I am the greatest,” declared Bolt after giving himself the perfect birthday present. “As soon as I got the baton, I knew I was going to win this one, because there is none to outrun me in the anchor leg.

“I am just relieved it has happened, it has been a lot of pressure, I am just happy, proud of myself. I am also sad that this is my last one, I am going to miss the crowd, the energy and the competition, I just love competing.”

The Jamaicans were almost on par with the United States and Japan when Bolt got the baton in the relay. In just a few strides, he set that straight and blazed away to the finish, leaving Japan and the Americans in a fight for minor medals. With the American anchor Trayvon Bromell struggling, the Japanese edged ahead in an Asian record of 37.60 while the United States, who finished third, were disqualified for an exchange zone violation.

Bolt’s farewell round was graced with Jamaican razzmatazz as the quartet displayed its dancing skills and mingled with the fans for selfies and pictures. A touching moment came when Bolt returned to kneel down and kiss the finish line that presented him with a final set of shining memories to take home.

History was again made in the women’s 4x100M relay when Allyson Felix took her Olympic gold count to five, the most by a woman athlete. The Americans, who were reinstated after an unusual solo trial after getting obstructed and losing out in the heats, won in 41.01 seconds.

Cheruiyot has gold

Vivian Cheruiyot dashed Almaz Ayana’s dreams of a long-distance double when she overhauled the Ethiopian in the 5000M for her first Olympic gold. The Kenyan who has four world titles on the track finally found Olympic success in 14:26.17.

Ayana, who set a world 10000-metres record here, seemed set for another record pursuit when she built up a huge lead past the half-way stage.

But she could not maintain the same pace and Cheruiyot seized the chance with a come-from-behind victory.

“It is my fourth Olympics and finally my dream has come true. My coach told us that Ayana is not unbeatable. We believed in him,” said Cheruiyot.

Tajikistan won its first ever Olympic gold thanks to Dilshod Nazarov in hammer throw. The big man hurled the implement to 78.68 metres to edge out Ivan Tsikhan (77.79) of Belarus. Pole vault, missing Yelena Isinbayeva, found a new champion in Ekaterina Stefanidi of Greece, who topped with 4.85 metres, while defending champion Jennifer Suhr missed out on a podium place.

Results: Men: Hammer throw: Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) 78.68 metres, 1; Ivan Tsikhan (Belarus) 77.79, 2; Wojciech Nowicki (Poland) 77.73, 3.

4x100M relay: Jamaica (Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Nick Ashmeade, Usain Bolt) 37.27 seconds, 1; Japan 37.60 (Asian Record) 2; Canada 37.64, 3.

Women: 5000M: Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) 14:26.17, 1; Hellen Obiri (Kenya) 14:29.77, 2; Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) 14:33.59, 3.

Pole vault: Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) 4.85 metres, 1; Sandi Morris (United States) 4.85, 2; Eliza McCartney (New Zealand) 4.80, 3.

4x100M relay: United States (Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Torie Bowie) 41.01 seconds, 1; Jamaica 41.36, 2; Great Britain 41.77, 3. 20km walk: Liu Hong (China) 1:28:35, 1; Maria Gonzalez (Mexico) 1:28:37, 2; Liu Xiuzhi (China) 1:28:42, 3.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox