Only Usain Bolt can make a world championship gold medal look like a letdown.
The Jamaican left the Olympic Stadium with three gold medals and the assurance that no one could match it during yesterday’s final session. But for the first time in Berlin he was unable to produce a third world record that went with his other golds.
Instead, the Jamaican 4x100m relay team ran the second-fastest time in history, winning gold in 37.31 seconds.
“I am dying right now,” Bolt said, complaining of fatigue after nine races in eight days.
With Asafa Powell taking the baton from Bolt for the last leg, Jamaica set a championship record but fell short of the world record mark of 37.10 they set in Beijing last year. Trinidad and Tobago took silver and Britain won bronze.
Bolt was so tired that he centered more on stretching his legs after the race than entertaining a sellout crowd of 70,000.
Don’t expect too much for the rest of the season, considering the priorities he set out late Saturday: “Go home, go on vacation, go clubbing, go to the beach.”
First, though, he planned for a big party in Berlin.
“It is top secret where we are going,” Bolt said.
Besides the golds, he will also have a slightly bulkier prize because yesterday Berlin’s mayor planned to present the sprinter with an original piece of the Berlin Wall that divided the capital until 1989.
This unique souvenir weighs in at 2.4 tonnes, is 3.6m high and 1.2m wide.
“I don’t know yet what I am going to do with it. I thought it was a small piece. I did not know it was going to be so big,” a smiling Bolt said.
Jamaican teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser became a double gold medalist when the 100m champion helped her 4x100m relay team take gold.
The US looked set to win both 4x400m relays, which should keep the Americans at the top of the medal standings.
If the Americans had not been eliminated in the 4x100m relays, Allyson Felix could have challenged for gold. And as 200m champion, she still could have run in the relay yesterday.
Other finals on the closing day of the nine-day championships are the women’s long jump, 1,500m and marathon, and the men’s javelin, 800m and 1,500m.
Also Saturday, Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland set a world record of 77.96m to win the hammer throw and earn a US$160,000 check for winning a title with a record.
In the men’s long jump, American Dwight Phillips jumped 8.54m on his second attempt to win.