Usain Bolt was ramping into warp speed when suddenly, stunningly, the sprint turned into a somersault.
Fifteen steps into the final homestretch of his final race, something gave in Bolt’s left hamstring. The World’s Fastest Man skittered to a stop, hopping, skipping, jumping and finally dropping to the ground and tumbling forward before coming to a rest.
Having to make up lots of ground on the anchor leg, Bolt suddenly screamed, stumbled and somersaulted as he came down, his golden farewell shattered by the first injury he has experienced at a major competition. He was helped to the finish line by his Team Jamaica teammates, CBS Sports reports.
That wasn’t the only surprise. Britain went on to beat the United States in a tight finish.
The 60,000-capacity stadium was primed for one last Bolt show, one last “To the World” pose after a victory, but the injury made it blatantly clear why Bolt is ready to retire. His body can no longer hold up.
“He is still the best in the world,” said Justin Gatlin, Bolt’s American rival who ended up with 100-meter gold and relay silver.
Bolt’s teammates on the once-fabled Jamaican sprint squad were far from unmatchable, too. Bolt just had too much to make up in the final 100 meters as both Britain and the United States were ahead and even Japan was even.
As Bolt fell to the ground, the leg with the golden shoe giving way, the crowd still went wild because the home team went on to win gold in 37.47 seconds, .05 seconds ahead of the United States.
“It’s a cramp in his left hamstring, but a lot of the pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Jamaican team doctor Kevin Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”
The race will certainly be remembered for the gut-wrenching way in which the sport’s greatest athlete was forced to end his career.
“It just happened,” Jamaican leadoff runner Omar McLeod said. “Usain Bolt’s name will always live on.”
It was yet another amazing upset in a championship of so many.