Usain Bolt is ready for the last races of his career. What a series of incredible moments he leaves behind as the fastest man in history.
Bolt is the 100m favorite at the world track and field championships in London, with the final on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports Gold). One week later, Bolt is expected to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m relay team in his last race before retirement.
The curtain will come down on a decade of memories, from world records to world-class celebrations, charm and charisma. That was never more evident than on sport’s biggest stage — the Olympic Games.
In 2008, a 21-year-old from the rural Jamaican sugar town of Trelawny, shocked the world by breaking the 100m and 200m world records at the Beijing Games.
As Michael Phelps wrapped his eight-gold-medal opening week in China, it was Bolt who kept viewers glued. Not only did he win in record fashion, but he also did so with cocky style, turning his head and slapping his chest before crossing the 100m final finish line in 9.69 seconds.
Bolt, criticized by some for disrespectfully celebrating mid-race, then ran hard through the line to win the 200m in 19.30 seconds four days later, lowering Michael Johnson‘s world record.
After breaking his own world records at the 2009 World Championships, Bolt came back for an Olympic encore at the 2012 London Games. He ran faster in London than in Beijing by aggregate and became the first man or woman to sweep the 100m and 200m at back-to-back Olympics.
Soon after London, Bolt said the 2016 Rio Games would be his Olympic farewell. He came to Rio to set his legacy as a legend along the likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Pelé. He did not disappoint, winning both sprints and the 4x100m relay again.
After Rio, Bolt chose to race one more season — “for the fans” — and will fittingly cross the finish line one last time at an Olympic Stadium, the site of his 2012 London Games triumphs.
Track and field, and the Olympic Games, will not be the same without him.
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