Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Only medals count – Bolt

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Usain Bolt (second left) celebrates winning the men’s 100-metre final inside the Olympic stadium during the athletics competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday. From left are Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, who won bronze, France’s Jimmy Vicaut, and the United States’ Justin Gatlin, who won silver.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

Usain Bolt has run the last Olympic 100m race of his life, and while it won't be filed among his most electrifying, as he put it, it's the gold medal that counts.

Bolt closed the book on his Olympic 100m career with a 10-0 record and a dominance that has never before been witnessed in Olympic track and field. In his 10 races over 100m at the Olympic Games, Bolt has only gone over 10 seconds on three occasions - all in the first round, with an average time of 9.89 seconds.

With many expecting something in the 9.6 region, his late-charging 9.81 seconds win inside the Olympic stadium on Sunday night certainly did not have the same impact as the then-world record 9.69 that brought the world to his feet in Beijing 2008 or his 9.63 seconds sequel in the London 2012 final. But it was still his third-fastest time at the Olympic Games.

Bolt doesn't care.

As he puts it, the only thing that really matters are the three pieces of gold that have been placed around his neck after each Olympic 100m campaign.

"A favourite memory? I really can't pick a memory, it's just the wins that count to me at the end of the day. I'm happy that I keep winning, and that's my focus right now, to keep it going," Bolt said.

 

200M NEXT

 

He will, of course, turn his attention to the 200m, which gets started with the heats today. The sprinter is looking to create history by repeating his triple gold performances at the Beijing and London Olympics.

Bolt added that he was disappointed with his time, but complained that the turnaround time between the semi-finals and final - which was just over one hour - was way too short to recover enough energy, while also noting that he was never in doubt, even after his poor start.

The Jamaican was some way behind second place finisher, Justin Gatlin (USA), 9.89 but eventually took over the race, with Canadian Andre de Grasse taking the bronze in 9.91.

"I wasn't worried; after the semis I think my confidence went way up because I knew I executed really well. I knew I got a bad start (in the final) and all I could tell myself was, 'listen don't panic, take your time, work yourself back', and that was what I did," Bolt shared.

"When you see it on the replay, it looks worse than it felt in the race, I knew that was going to happen; he (Gatlin) always gets a good start, so I told myself to take my time and chip away at the lead.

"I really expected to go faster, but the turnaround time was really bad for any athlete. I was actually tired after the 100m and I'm never tired after a 100m race," said Bolt. "I don't know why they changed the time, but if we got more time, the race would definitely have been faster."

 

PROUD OF VAN NIEKERK

 

No one has ever been as fast as new 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk after the South African shattered Michael Johnson's old 400m mark of 43.17, which was never really tested since it was added to the books 17 years ago, clocking 43.03 on his way to an impressive gold medal.

Bolt, who hosted van Niekerk in Kingston two months ago for a week-long training exchange said at the time that he was impressed with the quarter-miler's speed and was full of praise for his latest achievement.

"I'm really proud of him. When he came to Jamaica, I said to him that he was the only person I thought could break the 400m world record because he's very fast and he keeps on going so, for me, I wasn't really surprised that he got it tonight, because he ran really well through the rounds. I'm really proud of him."