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Bronze And Gone: In A Shocker, Usain Bolt Takes Third At Worlds

Usain Bolt

LONDON (AP) — One final time, Usain Bolt peered down the last 50 meters of his lane and saw sprinter upon sprinter running footsteps ahead of him.

One final time, the World’s Fastest Man furiously pumped the arms and legs on his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, desperately trying to reel in all those would-be winners as the finish line fast approached.

Usain Bolt
Justin Gatlin, Christian Coleman and Usain Bolt

This time, the afterburners kicked in but not hard enough. Not one, but two overlooked and underappreciated Americans — Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman — withstood what was once Bolt’s undeniable late charge.

This time, Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at world championships. That’s right: A bronze-medal finish Saturday night in the going-away party for one of the planet’s most entertaining icons and track and field’s lone shining star.

“No regrets,” Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. “It was always going to end, no matter what happened — win, lose or draw. It doesn’t change anything in my career.”

Gatlin, who actually trailed Bolt at th

e halfway point, heard boos cascade loudly across the stadium when his winning time, 9.92 seconds, popped up on the scoreboard. The 35-year-old, who has served two doping bans and been widely cast as a villain to Bolt’s hero, went sprawling to the ground with a huge smile. Later, he bowed down to the man he finally defeated.

“I wanted to pay homage to him,” Gatlin said. “This night is still a magical night for track and field and Usain Bolt. I’m just happy to be one of his biggest competitors.”

Usain Bolt
Gatlin bowed before Bolt after the race.

Coleman, a 21-year-old in the first major race of his life, was in shock, too: “To beat someone I looked up to when I was growing up. I was just happy to be on the line with him,” he conceded.

Bolt, who finished third in a time of 9.95, accepted with class both the result, and the fact that, at 30, he probably is picking the perfect time to retire.

“I did it for the fans,” he said after collecting a bronze to go with his three world golds at 100 meters. “They wanted me to go for one more season. I came out and did the best I could.”

In the past, the scene after a Bolt race was really just an after-party masquerading as ceremony, filled with Bob Marley tunes, Jamaican flags and dancing. On Saturday, it felt surreal to anyone who’s been at one of these Bolt victories before.

With house music playing softly throughout the stadium where Bolt won the middle three of his nine Olympic finals, Gatlin and Coleman passed through the exit tunnel while the former champion took a 10-minute trip around the track, then detoured into the stands for selfies with the Jamaican fans who came across the ocean to see him one last time.

A few minutes after that, he stepped onto the track, kneeled down and kissed the finish line that he crossed in Lane 4.

Then, he gave the fans what they’ve come to expect: The famous “To The World” pose, which used to be the cherry on top of a raucous, fun-filled night. But where in the past the stadium would have still been brimming, this time, it was about one-eighth full and emptying quickly.

“It doesn’t change anything,” Bolt said. “I lost the race to a great competitor. I came out here and did my best. I’ve done all I can do for my sport and for myself.”


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Lawrence Davis III
Lawrence Davis, a Durham, North Carolina native, is a Sports Editor/Writer and Webmaster. The High Point University Alum has been writing for the magazine since 2013, covering Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) sports year round, as well as the Durham Bulls (Triple-A) baseball team in spring and summer. Davis is also the Head Coach of the Sanderson High School Varsity Lacrosse team in Raleigh NC, leading his team to numerous school records in only four years with the program. Davis still manages to assist in the organization and facilitation of the Annual NC MLK/Black History Month Parade, Annual NC Juneteenth Celebration, Spectacular Magazine Men of the Year and Spectacular Magazine Women of the Year award programs, among other events. Despite his busy schedule, Lawrence has built and maintains the Spectacular Magazine website and social media. @lawdavis13

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