Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt does not regret racing in 2017; no desire to compete again

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Usain Bolt was steadfast. Now is the right time to retire.

The 30-year-old said he did not race one year too many. He feels no need to compete again, to continue on and end his career with a victory.

“No, I think I’ve seen too many people retire and come back into the sport to really make it worse or to shame themselves,” Bolt said Sunday at the 2012 Olympic Stadium, where he came for one final lap of honor on the last day of the 10-day meet. “I personally won’t be one of those persons to come back.”

The eight-time Olympic champion can live with losing his last two races — to polarizing rival Justin Gatlin in the 100m at worlds in London on Aug. 5 — and tumbling to the track in the 4x100m relay on Saturday.

“I don’t think one championship is going to change what I’ve done,” he said. “I remember, after losing the 100m, someone said to me, ‘Usain, don’t worry, Muhammad Ali lost his last fight also.'”

Bolt said he would have an MRI on Monday to assess what he called a “pulled hamstring” that bit him about 15 strides into his relay anchor leg Saturday.

It’s certainly a different ending than what could have been. Bolt left the Olympic stage on top in Rio, sweeping the sprints and kissing the track rather than lying on it face down in pain.

In hindsight, should Bolt have retired one year ago?

“No, I’m fine,” he said. “As I’ve told you, my fans, they wanted to see me one more year. I told you guys, this was about my fans. … If I could come out here and give the fans a show, no matter how it ended, for me, I’m happy.”

Bolt’s immediate future?

“Party,” he said. “I need to go out and have a drink.”

In the following months and years could come more headlines about Bolt dabbling in soccer. Maybe a family.

“Hopefully three kids,” by 20 years from now, he said, adding that he wouldn’t force them into track and field.

Months before these worlds, Bolt wondered if the farewell would move him to tears. He had never cried at a track meet.

“I think I almost cried,” Bolt said. “It was close, but they [tears] didn’t come. I was just saying goodbye.”

That doesn’t mean it was not emotional.

“It’s just really sad that I have to walk away now,” he said.

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MORE: U.S. ties world championships medal record

Usain Bolt says goodbye to track fans

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Usain Bolt’s final world championship race did not go as planned. But he had another opportunity to say goodbye to his fans.

Bolt, who fell to the track with a hamstring cramp in Saturday’s 4x100m final, returned to the London Stadium on Sunday and walked a lap of honor in front of 60,000 screaming fans. His world record times, 9.58 seconds in the 100m and 19.19 seconds in the 200m, were displayed on the video scoreboards.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan presented Bolt with a large piece of the track from the 2012 Olympics. Bolt swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold medals at the London Games.

Bolt did not leave any room for interpretation when asked whether he planned on returning to the track:

Bolt ends his decorated career with 14 career world championship medals, which is tied with retired Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey for second all-time behind U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix. No athlete has more than Bolt’s 11 world championship gold medals.

He also has eight Olympic gold medals.

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

U.S. ties all-time world championships medal record

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The U.S. ran away with the medal lead at the world track and field world championships, claiming 30 total medals. Kenya finished a distant second with 11 total medals.

U.S. athletes earned 10 gold medals in London. No other country earned more than five golds.

It was the best-ever performance for the U.S. at worlds. The previous U.S. record was 26 total medals, set in 1991, 2007 and 2011.

30 medals matched East Germany’s record from 1987 for the most total medals at a single world championship.

The U.S. has earned the most total medals at 12 of 16 editions of worlds, and at every edition of the biennial completion since 2005.

U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, who earned three medals in London, now has the most career world championship medals.

Usain Bolt and Felix both entered the competition with 13 career world championship medals, one shy of the record held by retired Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey.

Bolt claimed his 14th medal by finishing third in the 100m at what is expected to be his final world championships.

Felix now has 16 career medals. She was the bronze medalist in the 400m, which was won by fellow American Phyllis Francis. She also earned relay medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m.

Unlike Bolt, the 31-year-old Felix is not done yet. She reiterated to The New York Times that she intends on racing through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, meaning she could compete at worlds in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.

Medal table at track and field world championships

2017: U.S. (30 total medals)
2015: U.S. (18)
2013: U.S. (25)
2011: U.S. (26)
2009: U.S. (22)
2007: U.S. (26)
2005: U.S. (25)
2003: Russia (20)
2001: Russia (18)
1999: U.S. (17)
1997: U.S. (17)
1995: U.S. (19)
1993: U.S. (25)
1991: Soviet Union (29)
1987: East Germany (30)
1983: U.S. (24)

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