Usain Bolt completes record haul at world championships

Jamaican superstar completes record haul of world championships medals as he anchors his team to relay gold in thrilling finale

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 11:22pm

Usain Bolt is perfect again. And with three gold medals in Moscow, the Jamaican great became the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the world championships.

The 4x100-metre relay gold yesterday erased the memories of the 100 title he missed out on in South Korea two years ago because of a false start. And, combined with an identical 100-200-relay triple from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Bolt was instrumental in giving Jamaica the first sweep of the six sprint events.

Bolt was still trailing Justin Gatlin when he got the baton on the anchor leg, but a botched US handover and his superior speed were enough to carry him, and Jamaica, to victory.

He gritted his teeth, dipped at the line, and then grinned with relief.

"I am very satisfied," Bolt said.

Bolt had already won the 100 and 200 metres. It was his second such sprint triple at the world championships, matching the two he has achieved at the Olympics.

With his victory, Bolt moved to the top of the all-time world championships medals table with eight gold and two silver, edging Carl Lewis, who has eight gold, one silver and one bronze.

And again Luzhniki Stadium and its 40,000 fans turned into a Bolt party.

With palpable relief after a week of an all-business demeanors during his earlier races, Bolt finally let go. His arms across his chest, he kicked his legs as he went down lower and lower to imitate a traditional eastern European dance to the delight of the crowd.

"A lot of energy here today," Bolt said.

He threw he shoes into the stands and struck his "Lightning Bolt" pose again, knowing he finally could escape the stress as Bob Marley's Three Little Birds blared.

Twenty minutes earlier, Fraser-Pryce became the first woman in world championships history to sweep the sprint events, anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4x100m relay.

Unlike Bolt, Fraser-Pryce got the baton with a big lead. With her pink hair extensions swaying in the air behind her, she kept on building her advantage to cross in a championship record of 41.29 seconds.

The United States failed to lead the gold-medal standings for the first time since the inaugural world championships in Helsinki 30 years ago. Instead, Russia topped the table with seven golds, while the Americans and Jamaicans won six. In the overall standings, the US team dominated with 25, holding a wide lead over the host nation's 17.

With a middle-distance double yesterday, Kenya secured African domination over neighbour and rival Ethiopia.

Asbel Kiprop successfully defended his 1,500m title with a devastating kick on the final straightaway.

Eunice Sum won her first major title when she held off Olympic champion Mariya Savinova of Russia to win the women's 800.

Russia hoped they would win another gold in the women's javelin, but defending champion Maria Abakumova disappointed with bronze. Instead, Christina Obergfoell of Germany won her first major title at age 31, beating Kimberley Mickle of Australia.

The string of upsets continued in the men's triple jump, where Olympic and defending champion Christian Taylor of the US was fourth. Teddy Tamgho of France edged Pedro Pichardo of Cuba for gold.

Of concern to organisers of next year's Winter Olympic Games in the Russian resort town of Sochi and the 2018 soccer World Cup will have been the appalling attendances in Moscow on most days.

Pre-competition claims to have sold 80 per cent of tickets looked reminiscent of the darkest days of Soviet propaganda as morning sessions took place with just a few hundred fans scattered around the 81,000-capacity bowl.

Only the presence of two blocks of Ukrainians, dressed in identical blue and yellow T-shirts and flown in specially by a company at home, saved the early action from taking place in silence.

There should be no such attendance problems in the next two editions as the world championships head to Beijing's Bird's Nest in 2015 and London's Olympic Stadium in 2017.