Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has won his last 100 meters race on home soil in Jamaica in an emotional farewell at a stadium which sold-out and was full to capacity.
He is set to retire in August after the World Championships in London and began his goodbye in front of 30,000 adoring fans in Kingston. Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, easily won the ‘Salute a Legend’ race in his first 100m of 2017 but admitted being nervous through the race.
“The run, it was just OK. I must say it was OK. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous running a 100m,” he said.
Bolt clocked 10.03 seconds to win before a lap of honour in front of a raucous crowd who danced, waved flags and blew their vuvuzela horns while fireworks lit the sky. The 100m and 200m world record holder returned to kiss the finishing line before flashing his signature ‘lightning bolt’ pose. He however didn’t appear too happy with his finishing time, “10.03”, his worst possible race ever. However Bolt says he was more concerned about staying injury free while showing the crowd how thankful he was.
“Just the atmosphere and the people, the support they came out and gave me, it was really nerve-racking. “I never expected this, I knew it was going to be big, the stadium was ram-packed so thank you guys for coming out and supporting me,” he said.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and International Association of Athletics Federations President Sebastian Coe were also in attendance.
“It’s big to see everybody that turned out. It shows that what I’ve done for the sport is a big deal to them and they really appreciate it,” added Bolt. “So thank you and it was my honour to put the sport of track and field at the top and to continue to dominate. “I’ll try my best even when I’ve hung up my spikes, to really continue to push track and field in any way possible,” he added.
Bolt has won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at past three Olympic Games – Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. His unprecedented ‘triple triple’ of nine gold medals was downgraded to eight after Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter, who was part of the quartet that won the 4x100m in Beijing, tested positive for a banned substance. Carter has appealed against the decision. Bolt’s exploits remain unprecedented and he also holds the world record in the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19).