Eleven time World Championship men’s 100m gold medallist, Usain Bolt, on Saturday night ended his individual career with a bronze medal after losing his title to bitter rival Justin Gatlin of the USA at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
American Gatlin won his second world 100m title – 12 years after his first – to ruin 12-time Olympic champion Bolt’s final individual race.
Bolt, who retires after next week’s 4x100m relay, had no answer and was third behind Gatlin, who clocked 9.92secs and Christian Coleman (9.94secs).
It was the most anticipated race of the competition after home boy, Mo Farah, who is also retiring after the championships, won the men’s 10,000m gold on Friday.
Bolt’s 9.95secs equalled his best effort of 2017 but he always trailed. The 30-year-old world record holder, who before Saturday had never lost a final race in his entire career, has struggled all season and was first beaten by 21-year-old Coleman in the semifinals of the event.
He will now look to the 4x100m for a gold medal to finally celebrate his retirement from the sport.
Gatlin – banned twice for doping – was booed before the race and celebrated wildly, holding his hands to his ears.
The 35-year-old, who started in lane eight, was behind his compatriot Coleman from the blocks but picked up in the last 20 metres to wear down the margin and take his first major title since 2005.
Bolt’s compatriot, Yohan Blake, took the fourth position in 9.99secs, South Africa’s Akani Simbine was fifth in 10.01secs while France’s Jimmy Vicaut was sixth in 10.08secs.
Great Britain’s Reece Prescod — who qualified for his first major final with an impressive time of 10.05secs in the semifinal — finished seventh in 10.17secs and China’s Bingtian Su was eighth in 10.27secs.
Bolt told BBC Sport, “I tightened up at the end and that is something you should never do. I didn’t execute when it mattered.
“I am not fully comfortable in those blocks but you have to work with what you have. I can’t complain about that. He (Gatlin) is a great competitor. You have to be at your best against him. I really appreciate competing against him and he is a good person.”
“I tuned it out [the booing] through the rounds and stayed the course. I did what I had to do. The people who love me are here cheering for me and cheering at home.
“It is Bolt’s last race. It is an amazing occasion. We are rivals on the track but in the warm-down area, we joke and have a good time. The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn’t deserve the boos. He is an inspiration,” gold medallist Gatlin said.