It’s Monday morning and I’m not even a particularly huge athletics fan, but I’m still not over Saturday’s 100m World Championship’s final. The race was meant to be Usain Bolt’s swan song. However, much to the disappointment of basically every living human (Bolt has 100% universal appeal), Bolt’s fairy tale career did not have a fairy tale ending.
Bolt was left taking home a bronze medal with two time drug cheat Justin Gatlin stealing the gold, in the biggest Bolt upset since he failed to make the 2011 World Championship’s 100m final.
After a troubled season, which saw back problems and the death of Bolt’s close friend Germaine Mason, a classic Bolt victory did seem unlikely. Even so, with his legendary status and penchant for pulling one out of the bag in finals, I don’t think anyone truly believed that Saturday would be anything other than his night. Even less predictable was the fact that it would be Gatlin, and not fellow American Christian Coleman, who would be stealing Bolt’s crown as the fastest man.
The London crowd not only booed Gatlin upon his 100m victory but also during the medal ceremony on Sunday, which was allegedly moved to 18:50pm instead of 20:00pm due to an administration error, but more likely to minimise bad press.
As much as Gatlin is the villain of the sport, and believe me I don’t think he should be racing either, there was something uncomfortable and really quite sad about hearing a chorus of boos at what is meant to be a happy event. It’s not fair that Coleman’s first medal at Worlds and Bolt’s last appearance at Worlds (and last appearance ever *sob*) ended up being marked by that kind of an atmosphere.
However, Usain Bolt proved to us that he truly deserves his coveted place in sport and in our hearts. In the midst of all this tension Bolt, ever the gentleman, approached Gatlin after his success and embraced him.
Gatlin told the BBC that Bolt actually said to him “you don’t deserve these boos”- a sentence I myself am not fully quite comfortable uttering, even with my next to nothing investment in athletics.
It appears that Bolt and Gatlin have mutual respect for each other with Bolt stating that Gatlin “deserves to be here” and Gatlin not only returning the praise by claiming that Bolt is “a great athlete, a great man” but also bowing down to him following the race. Now that Bolt is retiring perhaps these two can embark upon a full bromance? Then again, maybe not.
What makes Bolt’s measured comments all the more impressive is that they were delivered while the loss was still fresh. Clearly Bolt is not only tall, dark, handsome, ridiculously fast, and funny but he is also magnanimous. *Sigh*
As much as Bolt’s bronze and Gatlin’s gold seems like some kind of nightmare result, nothing can dampen the success and acclaim that Bolt has achieved in his sporting years and hopefully he can bag one last gold with the men’s 4x100m relay race later this week. Nevertheless, can we wake up now please?
Watch Bolt and Gatlin wax lyrical about each other below: