Usain Bolt golden again in 4x100 relay in world record time
By David Leon Moore,
12 August 2012
LONDON – Usain Bolt, commanding the spotlight as usual, finished up the last session of track Saturday night at the London Olympics by finishing up the Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team's world-record performance and finishing up his second Olympics by winning his sixth gold medal in six tries.
He stayed consistent, refusing to commit one way or another.
"I've thought about it," he said when asked about competing in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics. "I think it is going to be very hard. Yohan (Blake, his 22-year-old star teammate) is coming through and I'm sure a lot of the other young guys are coming up, so I will see what happens in four years."
He said he was done setting goals for now.
"Right now, I have no goals," he said. "We'll have a meeting (with his coach) in October to decide what we're going to do for next season. Right now, it's all enjoyment for me. I've done what I've come here to do."
At 6-5, Bolt towers above his sport, physically and figuratively — and, ever more, statistically.
He is now fourth in Olympic track and field history with six gold medals, behind Paavo Nurmi (nine), Carl Lewis (nine) and Ray Ewry (eight).
Nurmi, of course, was an incomparable distance runner from Finland, and Lewis the great sprinter and long jumper from the USA. Ewry was a great field performer in the early 20th century. In 1900 and 1904, he accomplished a triple-double, winning gold medals in the standing triple jump, standing long jump and standing high jump.
Not since then has anyone in Olympic track and field won the same three events in consecutive Olympiads — until now, with Bolt doubling in the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 4x100 relay.
"That was my goal," Bolt said. "I've done that, so right now I'm going to sit down and think about it. But I'm going to the city tonight to celebrate."
Before he headed out into the night, he had something to say to IOC President Jacques Rogge, who had said about Bolt's boasts that he was "a living legend" that, no, Bolt wasn't quite a legend yet, that he perhaps needed to add another Olympiad to his résumé.
"For me, I would respond by asking him a question," Bolt said. "What else do I need to do? I'm the world recordholder in both events (the 100 and 200). I've broken the world record a couple of times. I'm the Olympic champion. Twice. In both events. I'm world champion. I've done everything that is possible to do in my events. So what is there I need to do? That's what I need to ask him. I think that's what the interviewer should have asked him when he said that."
The U.S. team — Trell Kimmons to Justin Gatlin to Tyson Gay to Ryan Bailey— ran a fast race and made its exchanges without mishap, which it has had difficulty doing in years past.
But all that did was get the stick in the hands of anchor man Bailey about the same time Blake, silver medalist in the 100 and 200 meters previously, passed the baton to Bolt, the 100 and 200 double Olympic champion.
"I was ready for the stick to get to me, and when it finally did, I was running for my life, trying to hold on as best I could," Bailey said.
Bolt immediately separated himself from Bailey and ran hard all the way to the line, watching the scoreboard clock, even leaning, before breaking into a huge smile after he saw the time — 36.84 seconds.
"It's always a beautiful feeling to end off like this," Bolt said. "For me, it's a wonderful feeling."
The race was oh-so-close, until Bolt took over.
"He was basically the difference in the race. It was even all the way around," Gay said. "When he got the stick, there was nothing we could do about it."
It was the first sub-37 second time in the event's history. Jamaica had set a world record of 37.04 seconds in last year's world championships. It had also set a world record in the Beijings Olympics in 2008, when Bolt had also set world records in the 100 and 200.
Team USA matched that previous record — 37.04 — in taking the silver.
"I'm really appreciative," said Gay, who collected his first Olympic medal after competing hurt in 2008 and then finishing fourth in the 100 in London. "I'm glad I got the medal. That part of my heart was missing. I think I filled it."
Shortly after the race, Bolt pleaded with a track official to keep the baton. He initially lost his case, as the official insisted he turn it over. But the official relented in the end. Bolt took the baton, saluted the crowd and headed into the tunnel.
"He was saying I couldn't keep it, because it's the rule," Bolt said. "I got it back, but it was kind of weird, because he actually told me that if I didn't give it back, I would be disqualified. That was kind of weird."
So another Olympics is over for him, and it basically couldn't have gone any better. He talked about becoming a legend, and that certainly is not arguable at this point. In London, he wasn't record-setting fast until the final night, and that was with help from his teammates.
But from beginning to end, he was dominant.
Bolt will turn 26 next month. He will turn 30 on Aug. 21, 2016, the day of the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.