Unbeatable Bolt signs off with triple-triple

Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:26am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Usain Bolt drew down the curtain on his brilliant Olympic career by securing a sweep of the sprint titles for a third successive Games when Jamaica successfully defended the 4x100 meters relay crown in Rio on Friday.

Two days shy of his 30th birthday, Bolt anchored his country to victory in 37.27 seconds so adding the relay crown to the 100 and 200 meters titles he has owned since exploding onto the Olympic stage in Beijing in 2008.

He will depart that stage never having tasted defeat in a final, his nine gold medals a joint record in athletics with Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi and American sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis.

In the eight years since Beijing, the 11-times world champion has become one of the best known sportsmen on the planet and with the 'triple-triple' has a legitimate claim to the title of greatest Olympic track and field athlete ever.

There has never been any doubt in the Jamaican's own mind.

"There you go, I am the greatest. I've worked hard every Olympics to win three gold medals... so I'm just happy that I've accomplished so much," Bolt told reporters.

"It's a relief but I'm also sad that I have to leave. This is my last one... It's just so many special feelings I'm feeling."

There is no doubt that Bolt has transformed his sport, if only by almost single-handedly displacing the United States as the superpower of men's sprinting.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/08/2016. Usain Bolt (JAM) of Jamaica celebrates victory. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler