IAAF World Championship 2017: Usain Bolt receives unanimous praise despite missing gold in swansong race

Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt in the 100 metres. A 21-year-old Christian Coleman too went past the Jamaican by a hundredth of a second. Bolt graciously settled for a bronze. All this has happened two days ago but it seems the world has still not come to terms with it.

You cannot really blame them as Bolt had virtually owned every race he participated and anything less than gold was viewed as failure. To add more perspective, the greatest sprinter of all time lost only two individual finals since he won his first gold medal, showboating at the finish line in Beijing Olympics in 2008.

United States' Justin Gatlin, left, crosses the line to win gold ahead of silver medal winner United States' Christian Coleman, second right, and bronze medal winner Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, in the men's 100m final during the World Athletics Championships in London Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt finished third in his last individual race. AP

The first instance was in 2011 when he faltered with a false start in the 100 metres finals at the World Championship in Daegu, South Korea. The second was on Saturday at London’s Olympic Stadium where he finished third. It was Bolt’s last individual race and the first time someone outran him in the finals of a championship.

So just what did the world make of it? Here are few samples:

ESPN went on to compare how the race was an event wherein the life stories of Gatlin and Bolt changed.

Gatlin was tested positive for consuming a banned substance and he was suspended in 2008. That is when Bolt burst onto the scene. Since then, Bolt went on to win many gold medals, made and broke records, and gained the status of a greatest-of-all-time (GOAT).

There was a build up before Gatlin and Bolt had a showdown at the Championship. The Jamaican finished behind Gatlin in a Diamond League fixture in 2013 when Bolt was coming off an injury. At the 2015 World Championship, the American lost by a hundredth of a second to ‘lightning’ Bolt.

“But the two life stories changed Saturday. Bolt is still the greatest sprinter in history and one of the most dominant athletes ever, but he has finally been humbled. And Gatlin will always be the Man Who Beat Bolt,” read ESPN's article.

While Gatlin was not the only man who bettered the former world’s fastest man, rising sensation 21-year old Coleman came in second to claim the silver.
“I came in third to a young kid that is coming up. He has a great talent and great future ahead of him. So no regrets. I came out and did my best,” said 100 and 200 metres world record holder after the race.

The New York Times reminded the mortal side of the peerless Bolt, as they went on to capture and dissect the details of sprinter’s facial contortions.

“He has often made victory look so easy, even preordained, crossing finish lines at less than full speed with his arms spread wide and a grin on his face.

But there was no margin for grandstanding in this final. As Bolt stretched for the finish line, he was grimacing, his mouth and eyes wide with effort. And as he started to decelerate, his face was full of concern as he looked at the scoreboard for the results.”

Meanwhile The Guardian seems to have taken a page out of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works to highlight how 'Gatlin has played a shadowy Moriarty to Bolt’s effortless Holmes'.

They added, "One of the reasons for his global popularity is that Bolt has always understood that sport has never been worth selling your soul," Giving another befitting pop culture reference to salute the recipient of eight Olympic gold medals, They wrote, “He has dramatised all that human bodies might be capable of, and done so in a spirit not of “focus” but of celebration. As Bolt’s fellow Jamaican great, Bob Marley, once expressed it: Life is worth much more than gold.”

The 31-year old legend hugged and congratulated both Gatlin and Coleman after the race, he also went on to say that Gatlin has "served his time". However, The Telegraph termed him a 'drug cheat' and questioned, " Gatlin is the oldest world 100m champion, so did previous drug use help him to go on this long? Is he still benefitting now?" They also added that Bolt prolonged his career for 'commercial incentives'.

Despite not winning his final individual race as a professional athlete, there is an unanimous agreement in Usain Saint Leo Bolt being the greatest sprinter of all times.

Updated Date: Aug 07, 2017 20:28 PM

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