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August 14, 2017

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Organizers blamed for Bolt’s collapse

USAIN Bolt’s dramatic and inglorious end to his top-level career was the fault of world championship organizers, his furious teammates claimed.

The 30-year-old 100 meters and 200 world record-holder collapsed on the London Stadium track whilst anchoring Jamaica in the final of the 4x100 on Saturday as cramp gripped his leg.

Bolt lay prone on the track but waved away the offer of a wheelchair and eventually, aided by his three teammates — Omar McLeod, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake — limped across the line before making a hasty exit — not the way the man who had won triple Olympic gold at the same stadium in 2012 would have wished to end his competitive career.

But his teammates complained that his problem was caused by organizers keeping the relay teams waiting in the cold before their race as several medal ceremonies were held. “I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy. 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run’,” said Blake, who branded the wait as “crazy”.

“We kept warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting,” added the 2011 100 world champion, who also won Olympic relay gold in 2012 and 2016 with Bolt. “I think it got the better of us. We were over warm.

“To see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that.”

Bolt may not have led Jamaica to a glorious finale anyway, though, as he took the baton well behind eventual winners Great Britain and the United States.

But Jamaica’s 110 hurdles world champion McLeod — who ran the first leg — likewise pointed the finger at organizers for denying his country’s greatest star a more fitting swansong.

“It’s heart wrenching,” said McLeod, who is also the Olympic champion.

“It was ridiculous man, we were there around 45 minutes waiting outside.”

Their criticism echoed that of Justin Gatlin, who led an American 1-2 alongside teammate Christian Coleman to deny Bolt a farewell gold in the individual 100. “I think it was the elements. I am sorry he got this injury. He is still the best in the world,” said Gatlin.

“It was a recipe. I don’t want to say this, I understand we need to be ready early, but I think we took our clothes off a little too early. It’s a little chilly in here so I think that’s where the cramp came from. That’s what he suffered with. He was running out there cold.”


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