Track superstar Usain Bolt seemed to have cemented his reputation, legacy if you will, as one of the world’s greatest athletes, with his Olympic and other international achievements attesting to his skills and dedication to the sport… until disaster struck this week.
DNF (did not finish), read the scoreboard at the recently concluded 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, to signify that the 6’5” Jamaican made a mess of himself in the men’s 4×100 meter relay, towing with him the rest of a likely embarrassed Jamaican quartet.
In the final baton exchange, Bolt, with maybe some 50 meters to go, had a more than a slim chance of taking one of the three top places of the race for his country but what the world shortly saw was the Jamaican anchor quitting and writhing in pain and falling on the track.
Cramps, according to some reports, did him in.
Other reports said Bolt threw the race because he could not live with not winning.
Plus, he “faked” his injury, a trick that is believed to be not an exclusive tactic of world-class athletes, including tennis players from Serena Williams to Novak Djokovic.
After all, Bolt was the only sprinter, male or female, to achieve the “Triple Triple,” having been the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4×100 meter champion in the Olympics in Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).
London 2017 was said to be the final chapter in his running career that has made him rich and famous and, as such, he must have psyched himself up to leave the world of track and field unbeaten.
Instead of running into the sunset with confetti raining on him, Bolt blew it big time.
Still other reports sensed beyond the loss of face, the cramps and the faking and pointed to “drug” use, a subject that pissed off Bolt when a reporter raised it in a post-race news conference.
Of course, he is not the only top trackster to live with the fact (or fiction) that he had been doping but those atop their sport are fair game for envious or probably clean athletes, or both.
Bolt’s shocking exit from athletics, however, would have people probably talking about him—good things, bad things—until he is old and gray (he will be 31 on August 18)—and that would be better for the sport.
Besides, he probably would be the only sportsman to be remembered for losing horribly in the fiasco of a race that probably would be the London athletics championships’ claim to fame.
It is said that nobody remembers the second placer, be it in a sports tournament or a beauty contest.
Well, Bolt could very well be an exception to the rule.
At least, the scoreboard did not say that he DNS (did not start), a failure that is as nightmarish as an FS (false start).