“My dad said he’s going to give me a year off and then I’m going to come back, but I don’t think so,” Bolt said, shaking his head and grinning on the eve of Saturday’s race.
Credit Tim Ireland/Associated Press
Though his rare defeat here in London Stadium was deflating, his career has been an against-the-odds joy ride at a time when track and field has been buffeted by doping and credibility crises. Though many of his rivals and some of his Jamaican compatriots have been suspended for violations, Bolt has never been sanctioned and has never tested positive for a banned substance.
He is one of three men — the others are the Americans Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene — who have won three world 100-meter titles. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, another Jamaican, has won three world titles in the women’s 100.
But no great runner has ever possessed Bolt’s mix of race-day playfulness and ruthlessness. He has been as good at communicating with the big crowds who have paid to see him (and often only him) as he has been adept at shutting down all opposition on the grandest occasions.
He swept the 100 and the 200 at each of the past three Olympics, an unprecedented feat. He also has won four world titles in the 200, though he chose not to compete in that event, long his favorite, in London this year.
Since 2008, when he became a global star at the Beijing Olympics, he has lost only two individual races at a major championships. The first came in 2011, when he beat himself with a false start in the final of the 100 meters at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea.