Usain Bolt bids farewell after losing the men's 100-meter final to Justin Gatlin at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London on Saturday. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
Usain Bolt dominated sprinting for more than a decade, but in his very last individual race, he was beaten.
Bolt finished third in a tight finish of the 100-meter finals on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships in London, behind a pair of Americans.
Justin Gatlin, who at 35 became the oldest world champion in the event, re-emerged from a doping-tainted career to finish first in 9.92 seconds. Christian Coleman, 21, took silver in 9.94 seconds, and Bolt, who could not overcome a poor start, got bronze in 9.95.
Bolt still has a relay to run at the World Championships, but the 100-meter final was considered the swan song for the 30-year-old Bolt, who had announced he would retire after this event.
"My start is killing me," Bolt said. "Normally it gets better during the rounds, but it didn't come together.
"I tightened up at the end and that is something you should never do. I didn't execute when it mattered. I am not fully comfortable in those blocks but you have to work with what you have. I can't complain about that."
While the fans cheered Bolt during introductions for the race, they booed Gatlin, who has been suspended twice for doping.
"It's not about the crowd," Gatlin said. "I tuned it out through the rounds and stayed the course."
Gatlin was the 2004 Olympic 100-meter champion, but had been beaten by Bolt in the Olympics in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Bolt had also captured gold in the 100 in the World Championships in 2009, 2013 and 2015. (He was disqualified in the finals of the 2011 100-meter finals for a false start.)
But Gatlin turned it around in his final competition against Bolt.
"It's just so surreal right now," Gatlin said. "It is Bolt's last race. It is an amazing occasion. We are rivals on the track but in the warm-down area, we joke and have a good time. The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn't deserve the boos. He is an inspiration."
After beating Bolt, Gatlin bowed down to the star Jamaican, and two embraced.
"He (Gatlin) is a great competitor," Bolt said. "You have to be at your best against him. I really appreciate competing against him and he is a good person.
"It is just one of those things."