If you haven’t been paying attention to the 2017 IAAF Outdoor Track and Field Championships, you wouldn’t have seen Usain Bolt race in his final meet ever. He raced the 100m, an event in which he holds the world record in. In the final, he placed third place earning him the bronze medal. It was the first time he had ever received a bronze medal in any event on the international stage. He placed behind Americans; Justin Gatlin (34) who took gold, and Christian Coleman (21).
Bolt had a very poor start and was never able to reach the peak speed he once could in his prime. Because of his large stature, it is usually difficult to have a quick reaction time, however, he usually makes it up at the end. In this race, he was never able to recover. Christian Coleman, who will be a senior at the University of Tennessee next year, had the best start of anyone in the field. He is a shorter guy, so it is much easier to get to his top speed quicker. Gatlin’s last 40 meters of the race was by far the most impressive aspect of the race. He seemingly appeared from nowhere to grab the gold medal from the hands of his fellow countryman, Christian Coleman.
Gatlin has not won anything since his victory in the 100m in the 2004 Olympic games. Since then, he has been banned for illegal substance use. His return to the track after his suspension has been impressive, however, Bolt’s dominance has prevented him from winning anything. Gatlin earned the silver medal in last year’s Olympic games in Rio. In these world championships, he was surely out there to prove he could beat Bolt even at the age of 34. And he did just that. Despite Bolt’s disappointing end to his career, it does take away from what he has accomplished.
At the age of 30, Bolt is not the same runner he once was a few years ago. As a world class sprinter, he had a short but illustrious career. He solidified himself as probably the greatest sprinter of all time recording two world records in the 100m and the 200m. He even broke his own world records a couple of times in the process of becoming the greatest of all time. He also won gold medals in those events in 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics, a feat that has never been done. It will be hard for anyone in the future to ever match the accomplishments that he has earned throughout his career.
With the end to the 100m final in the 2017 IAAF Outdoor Track & Field World Championships, comes the beginning of a new era in sprinting where the next champion will have the opportunity to win a gold medal. In 2020, we will see a new man crowned the fastest man in the world, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever match Usain Bolt.
Don’t forget to watch the 4x100m relay in which Bolt still has a chance to win another gold medal for his country.