22 AUG 2008 General News

Men's 4x100m Relay - FINAL

Three world records, three gold medals: Usain Bolt, the new king of sprinting (Getty Images)Three world records, three gold medals: Usain Bolt, the new king of sprinting (Getty Images) © Copyright

After bagging two gold medals and two World records Usain Bolt did not disappoint in his third and final event of this sensational Olympic Games which he has done so much to ignite.

It was another gold medal and another World record, although this time Bolt had to share the glory with his three Jamaican teammates as they obliterated the World record in 37.10* - hacking a massive 0.30 from the world record first set by the USA at the 1992 Barcelona Games and matched by the same nation at the following year's World Championships in Stuttgart.

Behind, a very long way behind, was Trinidad, who picked up the silver in 38.06 and Japan earned an unlikely bronze in 38.15 to go one better than four years ago in Athens, but this final was all about those Jamaicans and Mr Bolt.

Surprisingly, for a nation with Jamaica's sprinting heritage, this was their first gold medal in this event. It was also the biggest winning margin - 0.95 - since Jesse Owens inspired the USA to victory at the 1936 Berlin Games.

With the US absent from the final after committing a relay blunder in the heats and the defending champions Great Britain suffering the same fate, it was always likely to be a straight forward task for Jamaica providing, of course, they could suffer no mishaps with the baton.

However, we need not have worried. These Games - at least in the track and field programme - has all been about one athlete. Usain Bolt, the man with the Midas touch.

Nesta Carter gave Jamaica a solid base from which to build with an impressive opening leg and Michael Frater, the sixth place finisher in the Olympic 100m, extended their advantage ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Japan.

The second exchange between Frater and Bolt can politely be described as 'safe' as the 'big man' almost come to a stand still to make sure he grabbed the baton in his sizeable paw.

Next the fireworks, as Bolt called upon his brilliance for one last time here in the Bird's Nest Stadium to open up a sizeable winning lead and safely passed the baton on to Asafa Powell.

For Powell, the former world 100m record holder and the man who this season has been completely overshadowed by Bolt, he gained some consolation from what has otherwise been a heartbreaking season.

To be fair, he ran the anchor leg like a man possessed and with a 10m lead on the rest of the world crossed the line to record those World record figures.

Trinidad, anchored by the Olympic 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson, secured their first ever medal in this event with silver and it was also a first 4x100m podium for the bronze medallists, Japan.

Brazil, who won Olympic medals in this event in 1996 and 2000, this time wound up fourth in 38.24 with Germany fifth in 38.58. The hosts China were disqualified.

Perhaps the final words, though, belong to you know who?

"All I can say is, yo, Jamaican sprinters (are) taking over the world," said Bolt in the wake of his third gold medal and third World record of these Games. 

Steve Landells for the IAAF

* pending the usual ratification procedures