There was to be no triumphant end to Usain Bolt’s illustrious career after a shock defeat to American Justin Gatlin.
What was meant to be a glorious celebration of the departure of the sport’s greatest showman turned into a condemnation of its biggest pantomime villain as Gatlin, twice banned for drug offences, rolled back the years to win a second world title.
Bolt was left with only a bronze in his final 100m race as 21-year-old Christian Coleman made it a USA one-two.
Justin Gatlin dethroned Usain Bolt in 100m at world championships (ICYMI). Bolt: beaten in a global-championship 100m final for first time. pic.twitter.com/sA3rtgpNaD— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 6, 2017
As so often before, Bolt made a terrible start, but for once could not make it up as Christian Coleman, the 21-year-old American who beat him in the semi-finals, looked set for victory.
But Gatlin, who stumbled at the death to lose the 2015 world final to Bolt by a hundredth of a second, on this occasion timed his surge and dip to perfection to win in 9.92 seconds.
Usain Bolt: Gracious in victory and defeat. pic.twitter.com/DjFksIEVLc— Team Jamaica (@JamaicaOlympics) August 5, 2017
Afterwards both Gatlin and Bolt paid their respects to one another. Bolt added that his body was telling him it was time to retire and he said he had been competing this whole season in the memory of his late friend, Germaine Mason.
Congratulations to the legend & honorary Londoner,
usainbolt</a> on a fantastic career. You will always be the greatest! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bolt?src=hash">#Bolt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/London2017?src=hash">#London2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/QAMVS8Vnxs">pic.twitter.com/QAMVS8Vnxs</a></p>— Mayor of London (MayorofLondon) August 5, 2017
Bolt and Gatlin are both expected to feature in next week’s 4×100-metre relay final.