Wed | Feb 8, 2023

London 2017 | Jamaican athletes react to Bolt's defeat

Published:Sunday | August 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Usain Bolt with his 100 metres bronze medal alongside gold medallist Justin Gatlin (centre) of the United States and silver medal winner Christian Coleman, also of the United States.

LONDON, England:

The London Stadium. Half Way Tree. Sherwood Content. It did not matter where Usain Bolt's last race was being watched from, the effect of the result and the deepening reality that the legendary sprinter had packed his bags and was closer to that final farewell, were felt in equal, miserable measure.

Inside a venue that had become symbolic with Bolt's confirmation as a sprinting icon, the agony was palpable as the Jamaican darted across the line in third place. The unthinkable had happened. Bolt was beaten.

For his victor - old foe Justin Gatlin, a shower of boos; second placed finisher Christian Coleman - caught in the middle.

Young Jamaican quarter-miler Chrisann Williams, who was approaching her 15th birthday when Bolt changed the sport at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, suffered like most after his loss on Saturday. She spent the afternoon watching the 'I Am Bolt' movie and was perhaps expecting another night of celebration like the one shown after Bolt's Beijing exploits.


Motivated me


"I watched it (race) from my room, I was by myself and to be honest this is the first time that I ever cried for an athlete. I felt it so much because I wanted him to win for his last race," Gordon shared with The Gleaner yesterday. "When I saw that it kind of motivated me to come here and do my best."

Gordon would end up winning her 400m heat yesterday and will line up in tonight's semi-final, determined to take the next step forward.

"He will be missed, he is an icon, he will always be," she added.

Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod is looking forward to play his role in the challenge of building on Bolt's legacy.

"I honestly wanted him to win, I wanted him to leave on a high but he is still Usain Bolt and after what he went through with the death of his friend - a lot of people don't know that; he really came out and delivered," said McLeod.

"I'm happy that he left that super legacy for us to build on and I am happy that we are teammates. I am rooting for him, win and lose, Usain Bolt will always be Usain Bolt, he is going home happy," McLeod added. We have a lot of young, upcoming athletes so all we have to do is keep shining our light and keep the ball rolling and our flag high."

"At the end of the day Usain represented the country a great deal and he did a fantastic job," added Veteran quarter-miler Novlene Williams-Mills, who is also competing at her last major championship. "I know everyone was already motivated to do well, but I hope what Usain has done will motivate them a little more."

"Usain Bolt has given a lot of track and field, he has kept the sport going forward. I thought he would have got it, but I knew it was a rough year for him with the injuries and setback, the loss of his friend. We are giving thanks and I am happy to have been a part with a great man, a legend," said medal-winning sprint hurdler Hansle Parchment.

Bolt will next compete in the heats of the men's 4x100m on Saturday morning, before expectedly running his final competitive race on Jamaica's anchor leg in the final a few hours later.