Usain Bolt took inspiration from long standing tradition in WWE as he bowed out from athletics
Disaster struck for Usain Bolt.
After nine years of domination Usain Bolt bowed out of athletics on Saturday night.
The 2017 World Championships were expected to be his victory lap, he wasn’t running the 200 metres this time round so another gold in the 100m and the 4x100m would have to suffice.
But it didn’t quite pan out that way, Justin Gatlin shocked the world as Bolt took his first ever bronze medal at a major championship in the 100 metres.
It was not the narrative that the world had been following since he became a household name in 2008.
Since the Olympic Games in Beijing, the only times that the Jamaican had failed to win gold at a major competition was when he false started at the 2011 World Championships and collected silver at the 2015 World Relay Championships.
So when he picked up that bronze medal the athletic world was in shock, it wasn’t meant to end this way.
And then Saturday night came around, he’d go out on a high with his teammates in his last ever relay race and that’d be that.
As Yohan Blake passed the baton to Bolt we expected the eight-time Olympic gold medal winner to coast home as he has done for the past nine years but it wasn’t to be the case.
The 30-year-old pulled up, something we’d never seen before. Spectators in the stadium were already emotional as hometown hero Mo Farah bowed out from athletics with a silver medal but Bolt’s farewell hit home that little bit harder.
From an outsider perspective it seemed as if he was retiring into the sunset for the sake of it, he’s only 30 years old. Justin Gatlin is five years older and seemingly only getting better.
He’d done everything there was to do and now it was time to put the feet up and live the lucrative and luxurious lifestyle that he had made manageable.
That is what it looked like.
There’s an unwritten rule in WWE that in your last match you “Go out on your back” you lose the last match and that’s that.
Any wrestling fans will know that Ric Flair lost his to Shawn Michaels, Shawn Michaels lost his to the Undertaker and most recently the Undertaker lost to Roman Reigns in his goodbye.
It’s old school, you give back to the business that gave so much to you. Your loss makes the victory of the up and coming star that much bigger, they are now the one to beat.
And in many ways, Usain Bolt replicated that, unknown to the rest of us he knew his time was well and truly up and exhibited in the most unpredictable of ways.
Maybe just maybe it was better to see him bow out the way in the manner he did for both his sake and ours.
There has always been a sense when watching the world record holder that every time he lined up to the blocks something special was going to happen, another world record was going to be shattered but now we know that it will never happen, not because he’s retired but because his body simply isn’t able to do it anymore.
Bolt will now be able to retire in peace, he won’t be asked about a return to the track because we saw on one of the grandest stages that there’s nothing left to give and for the first time since he arrived on the scene there is no longer any expectations surrounding the greatest athlete of all time.
Tony Cascarino on the SportsJOE Live couch and Rory Best answer questions.
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