Usain Bolt Ends Career With Third Place Finish in 100 Meters at World Championships

Last year after Usain Bolt won an unprecedented third Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 meters (and 200 meters as well) in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the fastest man ever announced he would end his career after the August 2017 World Championships in London. The Hollywood ending for this would be for Bolt to win the 100 meters and retire as World Champion. While Bolt won his first heat in a not so spectacular 10.07 seconds after a poor start, and finished second to American sprinter Christian Coleman by 0.01 seconds (9.97 to 9.98) in the semi finals after another bad start out of the blocks. Despite that, the expectation was for a big finish and one final victory.

It didn’t happen that way. In the final, Bolt again got off to a poor start out of the blocks, and this time he could not overcome it. Thirty-five year old American sprinter Justin Gatlin took the Gold with a time of 9.92, followed by Coleman at 9.95 and Bolt at 9.96.

Gatlin, who is one of the few who defeated Bolt in a final (also doing so in a meet in Rome in 2013), has been around a long time. He won the Gold in the 100 at the Athens Olympics in 2004, before Bolt won those three in a row. He’s also missed years of his career due to suspensions for performance enhancing drug use, and in the eyes of many fans, Gatlin is a villain. Once a cheater, always a cheater, even though others, like Bolt’s fellow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, have returned to much less vitriol than Gatlin.

Gatlin will be 38 at the time of the next Olympics in 2020. We can’t imagine he’ll be there, but if anything, his performance in London means we can’t rule him out. A more likely star on the U.S. team in three years is silver medalist Christian Coleman, who is 21.

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