Usain Bolt ended his season with a time of 19.68 seconds in the 200 m of what was the final ever edition of the IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final.
Clearly the Jamaican was no longer in his best shape after long weeks of competitions. But for those who got used to faster times whenever Jamaica’s superstar entered a track one should remember that for many years Pietro Mennea’s World record stood at 19.72. The Italian had run this in 1979 and it was not until the Olympics 1996 when Michael Johnson (USA) finally broke it. So 19.68 is still a great time – though may be not too fast by Usain Bolt’s remarkable standards.
After a false start by Marlon Devonish (Great Britain) the race got under way at the second attempt. The World record holder (19.19* in Berlin in August) had not run the bend as hard as in the World Championships final or as in Brussels nine days earlier. Still Bolt did enough to enter the homestraight with a comfortable lead. He then increased the gap to Wallace Spearmon (USA) until 50 metres to go and then just kept going with less than a full effort. With his 19.68 Bolt tied the meeting record established by Tyson Gay (USA) in 2006.
As in Brussels, Wallace Spearmon finished second behind the Jamaican in 20.21. And again the gap here was more than half a second.
Brendan Christian (Antigua & Barbuda) took third with 20.65.
“Today I did not surprise myself as in Brussels. I wanted to run faster but I was really tired after the long season. No more races for me, it is time to rest,” said Bolt.
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF
*World record subject to usual ratification procedures