Usain Bolt’s final track appearance ended with pain and frustration on Saturday as he pulled up injured running the final leg of the World Championships 4×100 metres relay as Britain stunned the United States to win a shock gold medal.
Bolt, who had to settle for bronze in the individual 100 metres, had been hoping to sign off from the sport by leading Jamaica to a fifth successive world relay title but they were struggling in a distant third place when he collected the baton.
As he tried to gain ground, Bolt pulled up and fell to the floor midway down the home straight with what was later described as cramp in his left hamstring.
However, the 60,000 in the stadium who had come to mark the farewell of sport’s greatest showman had only a split second to absorb what was happening as up ahead history was being made by the host nation.
The United States, with individual 100m gold and silver medallists Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman running the second and fourth legs, had been expected to push the Jamaicans all the way but they were always trailing the slick Britons.
Brilliantly executed exchanges by Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake gave Britain gold in 37.47 seconds, breaking an 18-year-old national record and European record and securing the world title for the first time.