Usain Bolt falls with injury, loses final career race at worlds (video)


Usain Bolt ended his stellar career in excruciating pain.

The Jamaican great crumpled to the track with a left-leg injury as he was chasing a final gold medal for the Jamaican 4x100m relay team on Saturday at the world championships.

Having to make up lots of ground on the anchor leg, Bolt suddenly screamed and stumbled as he came down with his golden farewell shattered by the first injury he has experienced at a major competition.

“Not the way that I wanted to end my championship,” Bolt said on Snapchat while getting treatment, lying chest down on a table. “I left everything out there on the track. I gave it my all, as always.

“Sorry I didn’t get to say bye or anything, but I will be at the stadium tomorrow. I will come say goodbye.”

That wasn’t the only surprise. Britain went on to beat the United States in a tight finish.

The 60,000-capacity stadium was primed for one last Bolt show, one last “To the World” pose after a victory, but the injury made it blatantly clear why Bolt is ready to retire. His body can no longer hold up.

“He is still the best in the world,” said Justin Gatlin, Bolt’s American rival who ended up with 100m gold and relay silver.

Bolt’s teammates on the once-fabled Jamaican sprint squad were far from unmatchable, too. Bolt just had too much to make up in the final 100 meters as both Britain and the United States were ahead and even Japan was even.

As Bolt fell to the ground, the leg with the golden shoe giving way, the crowd still went wild because the home team went on to win gold in 37.47 seconds, .05 seconds ahead of the United States.

“It’s a cramp in his left hamstring, but a lot of the pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Jamaican team doctor Kevin Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

The race will certainly be remembered for the gut-wrenching way in which the sport’s greatest athlete was forced to end his career.

“It just happened,” Jamaican leadoff runner Omar McLeod said. “Usain Bolt’s name will always live on.”

The U.S. won the women’s relay, giving Allyson Felix her record-breaking 15th career world medal to pass Bolt.

In other events, Mo Farah, in the last championship track race of his career, lost a global final for the first time since 2011 with a silver in the 5000m. (VIDEO HERE)

Farah was overtaken by two Ethiopians with a lap to go and could not muster a strong enough kick to get back to the lead. His streak of Olympic and world titles ends at 10.

Farah came up the rail to finish second to Muktar Edris, .43 of a second behind the Ethiopian’s winning time of 13:32.79. American Paul Chelimo earned bronze after grabbing silver behind Farah in Rio.

A spent Farah lay on the track in tears. The 34-year-old is moving to road racing and marathons after this season.

“I gave it everything,” he told the crowd in a stadium interview before a montage played of his career highlights and fan messages, according to the IAAF.

Farah later said he “had nothing left” following last week’s 10,000m win.

Australian Sally Pearson upset world-record holder Kendra Harrison to win the 100m hurdles in 12.59 seconds.

Pearson, who captured the 2012 Olympic title on this track, capped a two-year comeback from a broken wrist and torn hamstring, which ultimately kept her out of Rio.

Dawn Harper-Nelson, silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics and gold medalist in 2008, took silver in 12.63 as the lone American medalist. Harper-Nelson failed to make the Rio Olympic team, getting eliminated in the Trials semifinals, and was fourth at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, squeaking onto the world team.

Harrison took fourth in 12.74 seconds on the same track where set the world record of 12.20 last summer. She lost for the first time since shockingly failing to make the Rio team at last year’s Olympic Trials.

Vashti Cunningham, the daughter of retired NFL All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, finished 10th in the high jump despite coming in ranked second in the world this year. Cunningham, 19, was 13th in Rio.

Russian Maria Lasitskene repeated as world champion — as an authorized neutral athlete due to her nation’s ban for its poor anti-doping record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Olympic pairs’ champs crush world record for world title; U.S. struggles

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Germans Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot added a world title to their Olympic gold with a world-record score, while U.S. pairs’ struggles continued with the Americans’ lowest-ever results at a world championships.

Savchenko and Massot broke the longest-standing record total in figure skating, extending their lead from Wednesday’s short program to win by 20.31 points over Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

“It was exactly the season that we wanted,” Massot said. “We reached our goal today.”

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres took bronze, France’s second Olympic or world pairs medal in 86 years.

Full results are here.

Savchenko and Massot’s free skate — the first to eclipse 160 points under the current judging system — included a side-by-side triple Salchow-double toe loop-double toe loop combination and a throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow.

Their total score — 245.84 points — shattered 2014 Olympic champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov‘s record of 237.71 set at 2013 Skate America. Their winning margin also broke Volosozhar and Trankov’s record for an Olympics or world championships under the 14-year-old points system.

Savchenko earned her 11th world medal — tying the female record held by Norwegian singles legend Sonja Henie — and sixth world title — tying Soviet Alexander Zaitsev for second on the all-time pairs’ list, four behind Irina Rodnina.

This was the French-born Massot’s first world title. Savchenko’s previous five world titles came with now-retired Robin Szolkowy.

Savchenko is 34, a five-time Olympian and the oldest pairs’ gold medalist in Winter Olympic history. The logical question — will she continue competing next season?

“Think about tomorrow,” she said, with Massot adding, “Ask again next week.”

The two U.S. pairs finished 15th and 17th, which means the U.S. drops to one pairs’ spot for the 2019 Worlds, its fewest since 1957.

U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim dropped from 11th after the short program to 15th of 16 pairs after the free skate. Scimeca fell on their death spiral and a throw triple flip, looked distraught skating off the ice and tweeted 10 minutes later, “I’m sorry for losing us a spot” and “Bad day to have a bad day.”

The Knierims made the top 10 in their four previous world championships appearances with a best finish of seventh.

The other U.S. pair, 2000 World junior singles silver medalist Deanna Stellato and 2014 Olympian Nathan Bartholomay, were 17th in Wednesday’s short program, missing the cutoff for the free skate by one spot.

It’s the first time all U.S. pairs finished outside the top 11 at a worlds, granted worlds didn’t regularly have a field greater than 15 pairs before 1990.

It came on the heels of the U.S. having its smallest pairs’ contingent — one pair — at an Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924. The Knierims were 15th in PyeongChang, marking the first time the U.S. sent a pair to an Olympics and put none in the top 10.

The last U.S. pairs’ medal at worlds came in 2002, making this the nation’s longest drought in any figure skating discipline. The last Olympic medal was in 1988.

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Nathan Chen hits short program, leads world championships

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That’s more like it, Nathan Chen.

After two disastrous Olympic short programs, Chen nailed his jumps at the world championships, taking the lead by 1.86 points over Russian Mikhail Kolyada in Milan on Thursday. American Vincent Zhou is third.

Full results are here.

“I learned a lot from the Olympics, and I used what I learned there heading into the short program in terms of where to place my mind, what to think about throughout the program,” Chen said. “It was great to have an opportunity to come back before the end of the season to try the short program again, sort of hope to redeem myself.”

Later Thursday, Germans Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot backed up their Olympic gold with a world title, shattering the longest-standing world record in figure skating with a record margin of victory. Full recap here.

In Saturday’s men’s free skate, Chen can become the youngest men’s world champion since Yevgeny Plushenko in 2001. Zhou can become the first man to make a senior world podium the year after winning a world junior title since Plushenko in 1998. The U.S. last put two men on a world podium in 1996 (Todd EldredgeRudy Galindo).

This week’s field lacks Yuzuru HanyuJavier Fernandez and Patrick Chan, who combined to win every Olympic and world title since 2011 but ended their seasons at the Olympics.

On Thursday, Chen hit a quadruple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a quadruple flip and a triple Axel for 101.94 points (2.18 shy of his personal best). It was a reversal from PyeongChang, where Chen’s short programs began unraveling with that opening combination, and he scored 80.61 and 82.27 points.

Chen placed 17th in the Olympic short program and redeemed himself with the top free skate, moving up to fifth. He went into the Olympics as the only undefeated male skater for the season.

“That I was able to bounce back and have the long program that I did, because of that the whole Olympic experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be after the short program,” Chen said Thursday. “Being able to have that, I didn’t have any ghosts of the Olympics following me [to worlds].”

Zhou, the youngest of 37 men in the field at 17, landed a quad Lutz-triple toe loop combination and a quad flip, fist pumping at the end of his skate. He shattered his personal-best short program by 12.25 points. Zhou was sixth at the Olympics.

“I came here to skate a clean program, I did that, and being in the top three is icing on the cake,” Zhou said.

Two other medal favorites — Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan and two-time world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China — struggled with jumps. Jin is fourth and Uno fifth.

Uno, competing with a reported ankle injury, performed a triple-double combination rather than the quad-triple he did in PyeongChang. Jin had a quad toe called under-rotated.

The third American, 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron, is in 15th place. Aaron put his hand down on his opening quad Salchow and turned out of his triple Axel landing.

Key Free Skate Start Times (Saturday ET)
Max Aaron (USA) — 6:05 a.m.
Shoma Uno (JPN) — 8:21 a.m.
Jin Boyang (CHN) — 8:29 a.m.
Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 8:38 a.m.
Vincent Zhou (USA) — 8:47 a.m.
Nathan Chen (USA) — 8:55 a.m.

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