Usain Bolt insisted he had no regrets over his decision to prolong his career beyond last year’s Olympic games and stressed his legacy would not be tarnished by his failure to win a gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, which finished Sunday.
The 30-year-old Jamaican endured an anticlimactic end to his career after he pulled up injured in the home straight of last night’s 4×100 meter relay.
Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medalist and 11-time world champion, also had to settle for bronze in his final 100m individual race last Saturday (August 5).
London 2017 marked the first time Bolt had not clinched a World Championships gold medal since Osaka in 2007.
He also claimed he had no intentions to return to the track and the decision to call time on his illustrious career was final.
“I don’t think one Championship is going to change what I’ve done,” said Bolt.
“I remember after I lost the 100m, someone said to me, ‘Don’t worry Usain, Muhammad Ali lost his last fight so don’t be stressed about it’.
“I have proven myself year in and year out throughout my whole career and the fact that I didn’t win my last race is going to change what I have done in the sport.
“I’ve seen too many people retire, come back and shame themselves – I won’t be one of those people.”
The disappointing finale to Bolt’s career ended in some acrimony after members of the Jamaican team were furious with organizers, claiming they were at fault for his injury because a medal ceremony delayed the start of the relay.
Bolt also admitted here that the problem he sustained during the last leg of the relay might be worse than he first thought and is likely to be assessed tomorrow.
“The wait was unusual,” said Bolt.
“I knew I had to warm up and I felt a bit tight.
“My coach told me to make sure I stay as warm as possible.
“When they took us to the area behind the billboard, it was for a while and we were there for both medal ceremonies.
“We asked one of them why they brought us out as we just had to stand there.”
Following the final race of the Championships tonight, Bolt embarked on a lap of honor and was presented part of the track from the Olympics in 2012, where he won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
He received the memento from IAAF President Sebastian Coe and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“I was saying goodbye to fans and saying goodbye to my events also, I’ve dominated them for years,” said Bolt.
“They have been everything to me.
“I almost cried, but it didn’t come.”
Bolt fired a parting shot at those who have cheated the sport during his career and reiterated his stance that dopers should be banned for life.
He claimed that athletics was “on the way back up” after it reached “rock-bottom” following the accusations of a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russia.
“I have always been strong on doping – I’ve said it, athletes should get life bans if you go out of your way to cheat an athlete,” he said.
“The sport is now on the way back up and we have to do everything to keep it in a good light.
“I’ve shown that you can do it without doping so that’s what I hope the young athletes will take from it.”
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.