Usain Bolt prevailed in the final Jamaican race of his career, winning a 100m in 10.03 seconds at Kingston’s national stadium Saturday night.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous to run the 100m,” Bolt said in front of a reported 30,000 spectators.
Bolt raced a lackluster field, trailing after his typical slow start but moving up with moderate-to-heavy effort to win by a comfortable .12. Fireworks went off outside the stadium seconds later.
He celebrated by kneeling in lane 5 at the finish line, kissing the blue track and stretching his “To Di World” pose. Bolt partied through dawn, in a T-shirt that read, “What will your legacy look like?”
Bolt, who hasn’t lost in four years, was racing 100m for the first time since the Rio Olympics.
His 10.03 matched his first-ever 100m race time from 2007, when he convinced coach Glen Mills to let him complement his 200m with the 100m.
Bolt’s time Saturday matched his slowest ever in a final this late in a season. It was well off the fastest time in the world this year.
“My execution was poor. My start was poor, as always,” said Bolt, whose only other race since Rio was a 150m in Australia on Feb. 11. “It’s my first race back, I didn’t expect anything spectacular.”
American Christian Coleman clocked an NCAA Championships record 9.82 seconds on Wednesday. Bolt has two months to round into form for the world championships in London.
The fastest 100m time of the night came in an earlier 100m race, where 2012 Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake ran 9.97 and South African Akani Simbine clocked 10.00. Full meet results are here.
Bolt has three meets left in his farewell season — Ostrava on June 28, Monaco on July 21 and worlds, where he plans to race the 100m and 4x100m relay.
Bolt was paraded around the national stadium track in a black SUV earlier in the night. He stood through a sunroof to acknowledge a packed crowd receiving him with a standing ovation.
He exited the car and walked over a red carpet to an infield ceremony where Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and IAAF president Seb Coe spoke.
Also Saturday, South African Wayde van Niekerk won a 200m in a national record 19.84 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.
Van Niekerk, who broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record in Rio, hopes to run both the 200m and 400m at the world championships.
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