Thirty-year-old Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt placed third at the World Athletics Championships in London in what he insisted was his final individual 100-meter race. Bolt, who couldn't recover from a slow start, finished the race in 9.95--.03 seconds behind the winner, American Justin Gatlin.
"My start is killing me," Bolt said. "Normally it gets better during the rounds but it didn't come together."
Despite stealing one last golden opportunity from Bolt, Gatlin--five years older-- took a moment to recognize the accomplishments of the "fastest human in the world" by graciously bowing in front of him. The two athletes, who were never really friends, embraced each other after the race.
"It's just so surreal right now," Gatlin said. "Usain has accomplished so much in our sport and inspired others."
Usain Bolt placed third in his last individual 100-meter race
It was considered the ultimate comeback for Gatlin, who has been suspended twice for doping. The American was the Olympic champion in 2004 before Bolt stole the spotlight and won an unprecedented three straight 100-meter titles at the Olympics.
"It was almost like 2004 all over again," Gatlin said. "I won by a little margin, and to be able to come across the line is amazing."
The loss didn't appear to damper Bolt's spirits, who exuded a sense of nostalgia toward the sport.
"It is just one of those things," Bolt added. "It has been brilliant."