Usain Bolt, the man who time after time has stepped up on the big stage, faltered on Saturday evening in London and had to settle for bronze in the World Championships 100 meters.
Instead, it was 35-year-old Justin Gatlin who pulled out the victory 12 years after earning his first 100 meter world title in 2005.
Young American Christian Coleman had the best start of the field and had a clear lead at halfway, while Bolt lagged well behind after a lackluster blast from the blocks. Gatlin was there, too, but only about mid-pack.
As Coleman started slowing, you could see Bolt making up ground in the adjacent lane, but it was ultimately Gatlin out in lane eight who rallied enough to nip both Coleman and Bolt at the line.
The final result:
If you remember back to Gatlin’s epic collapse at the 2015 Worlds, it was late race pressure from a surging Bolt that caused Gatlin to falter over the last 20 meters and lose to the Jamaican champion.
So the fact Gatlin was out in lane eight and couldn’t see what runners on his inside were doing might have benefitted rather than detracted from his world title performance.
One more thing I want to address: On the NBC telecast, Ato Boldon said people will forever question Bolt’s decision to race this season rather than hang it up after Rio.
I have to respectfully disagree.
People said Michael Jordan’s second comeback with the Washington Wizards would tarnish his legacy. Let’s be real – it hasn’t.
In 20 years, people will be talking about Bolt’s eight Olympic gold medals on the track and his swagger off of it – very few will remember this relative blip on Bolt’s resume.