Great Britain’s men’s 4×100 metres relay team claimed a stunning gold medal amid chaotic scenes at the World Championships in London as Usain Bolt’s glorious career ended in injury and agony.
The British quartet of CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake pipped the United States to gold in a world-leading 37.47 seconds, but only after Bolt had pulled up on his anchor leg and collapsed to the track.
The USA took silver in 37.52secs and Japan the bronze.
“This is the best feeling in the world, world champions,” said Gemili, overlooked for individual selection for the championships.
Mitchell-Blake, who had to settle for fourth in the individual 200m, roared with delight at the finish in scenes similar to Mark Lewis-Francis’ cries of delight when he crossed the line at the 2004 Athens Olympics to earn Britain sprint relay gold.
The tale since then for Britain has been one of missed chances and baton blunders. But no more, and the joy amongst the team was evident at the finish.
“We’re world champions, world champions,” Mitchell-Blake said through tears of happiness.
While Britain celebrated, though, there were contrasting emotions for Bolt in the final race of his career.
The 30-year-old pulled up on the home straight as he sought to chase down the United States and Britain, hobbling for a few strides before falling to the track.
His team-mates gathered round him and the 19-time global champion was helped to his feet and limped over the line, applauding the crowd as he did so.
It was a sad way for Bolt to bring the curtain down on the greatest athletics career the world has ever seen, a man who has dominated, delighted and delivered ever since his record-breaking runs and gold medals at the 2008 Olympics.
A golden farewell was what he deserved.
But last weekend, when Bolt had to settle for 100m bronze and drug cheat Justin Gatlin took his title, was proof enough that sport does not do fairy tales, not even for Bolt.