And so last night, in a blaze of camera flashes and pulled hamstring, the most recognisable athlete of his generation, the greatest athlete of his generation and up amongst the best athlete of any sport of all time hung up his spikes.
Its certain that he wouldn’t have wanted to have left his sport like this:
but Father Time (maybe the husband of Mother Nature) catches up with all of us, and he had reached the natural end.
A brilliant showman, a man who, up till now, restored faith in a sport that had lost a lot of credibility. He provided moments of humour, of genius and of genuine “did I just see that?”
To have a sprinter so dominant and charismatic as him on the track at the same time as a distance runner so prodigously talented as Mo Farah was great for a sport struggling to recover after countless drugs scandals, as I write this Russia is banned, as a country, from taking part in Olympic sport due to an alleged state managed doping program.
I hope Mr Bolt has a great retirement, plays lots of football and cricket, puts back into the sport in his beloved Jamaica and generally enjoys life, I’ve never met him but I suspect he will.
My only fear is the title of this post. The man is prodigously talented, of that there is no doubt, his times have gone down and then back up as would seem normal for a runner who trained hard but then got older, all seems to be normal, he has never had anomolies in his countless blood and urine tests.
But its there. Because of the sport, because of the history of the sport, because he was so good, so dominant, because of answers he gave to the press towards the end of his career, because of the amount of other Jamaican sprinters that have been caught doping. Because of all of those things there is just that nagging doubt that he has been like all the others.
I hope, I truly hope that as life goes on, that as retrospective testing improves and happens for samples given in previous Olympic Games and World Championships, that he continues to restore faith in the sport, that he always tests clean, that nothing is ever found that destroys once again the reputation of a tarnished sport.