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Usain Bolt golden again in 4x100 relay in world record time

6:38 AM, Aug 12, 2012   |    comments
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LONDON -- Usain Bolt, commanding the spotlight as usual, finished up the last session of track Saturday night at the London Olympics by finishing up the Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team's world-record performance and finishing up his second Olympics by winning his sixth gold medal in six tries.

Did the 25-year-old Bolt finish his Olympic career, too?

He stayed consistent, refusing to commit one way or another.

"I've thought about it," he said when asked about competing in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics. "I think it is going to be very hard. Yohan (Blake, his 22-year-old star teammate) is coming through and I'm sure a lot of the other young guys are coming up, so I will see what happens in four years."

He said he was done setting goals for now.

"Right now, I have no goals," he said. "We'll have a meeting (with his coach) in October to decide what we're going to do for next season. Right now, it's all enjoyment for me. I've done what I've come here to do."

At 6-5, Bolt towers above his sport, physically and figuratively - and, ever more, statistically.

He is now fourth in Olympic track and field history with six gold medals, behind Paavo Nurmi (nine), Carl Lewis (nine) and Ray Ewry (eight).

Nurmi, of course, was an incomparable distance runner from Finland, and Lewis the great sprinter and long jumper from the USA. Ewry was a great field performer in the early 20th century. In 1900 and 1904, he accomplished a triple-double, winning gold medals in the standing triple jump, standing long jump and standing high jump.

Not since then has anyone in Olympic track and field won the same three events in consecutive Olympiads - until now, with Bolt doubling in the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 4x100 relay.

"That was my goal," Bolt said. "I've done that, so right now I'm going to sit down and think about it. But I'm going to the city tonight to celebrate."

Before he headed out into the night, he had something to say to IOC President Jacques Rogge, who had said about Bolt's boasts that he was "a living legend" that, no, Bolt wasn't quite a legend yet, that he perhaps needed to add another Olympiad to his résumé.

"For me, I would respond by asking him a question," Bolt said. "What else do I need to do? I'm the world recordholder in both events (the 100 and 200). I've broken the world record a couple of times. I'm the Olympic champion. Twice. In both events. I'm world champion. I've done everything that is possible to do in my events. So what is there I need to do? That's what I need to ask him. I think that's what the interviewer should have asked him when he said that."

The U.S. team - Trell Kimmons to Justin Gatlin to Tyson Gay to Ryan Bailey- ran a fast race and made its exchanges without mishap, which it has had difficulty doing in years past.

But all that did was get the stick in the hands of anchor man Bailey about the same time Blake, silver medalist in the 100 and 200 meters previously, passed the baton to Bolt, the 100 and 200 double Olympic champion.

"I was ready for the stick to get to me, and when it finally did, I was running for my life, trying to hold on as best I could," Bailey said.

Bolt immediately separated himself from Bailey and ran hard all the way to the line, watching the scoreboard clock, even leaning, before breaking into a huge smile after he saw the time - 36.84 seconds.

"It's always a beautiful feeling to end off like this," Bolt said. "For me, it's a wonderful feeling."

The race was oh-so-close, until Bolt took over.

"He was basically the difference in the race. It was even all the way around," Gay said. "When he got the stick, there was nothing we could do about it."

It was the first sub-37 second time in the event's history. Jamaica had set a world record of 37.04 seconds in last year's world championships. It had also set a world record in the Beijings Olympics in 2008, when Bolt had also set world records in the 100 and 200.

Team USA matched that previous record - 37.04 - in taking the silver.

"I'm really appreciative," said Gay, who collected his first Olympic medal after competing hurt in 2008 and then finishing fourth in the 100 in London. "I'm glad I got the medal. That part of my heart was missing. I think I filled it."

Shortly after the race, Bolt pleaded with a track official to keep the baton. He initially lost his case, as the official insisted he turn it over. But the official relented in the end. Bolt took the baton, saluted the crowd and headed into the tunnel.

"He was saying I couldn't keep it, because it's the rule," Bolt said. "I got it back, but it was kind of weird, because he actually told me that if I didn't give it back, I would be disqualified. That was kind of weird."

So another Olympics is over for him, and it basically couldn't have gone any better. He talked about becoming a legend, and that certainly is not arguable at this point. In London, he wasn't record-setting fast until the final night, and that was with help from his teammates.

But from beginning to end, he was dominant.

Bolt will turn 26 next month. He will turn 30 on Aug. 21, 2016, the day of the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Also on Saturday:

• The U.S. women cruised to victory in the 4x400, with Sanya Richards-Ross anchoring and adding a gold medal to her 400 gold earlier.

"I call (this gold medal) the sprinkles, because the 400 was my cake and icing, so it was just awesome," Richards-Ross said.

Allyson Felix ran the second leg and took her third gold medal of the Games, after previously winning the 200 and being a part of the world record-setting 4x100 relay. She is the second woman to win gold in both relays, joining American Chandra Cheeseborough in 1984.

She was in tears in Beijing after being favored but finishing second to Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown in the 200.

She has been all smiles in London since winning the 200 gold.

"I think what happened in Beijing was for a reason," she said. "It kept me passionate. And now, I couldn't have asked for a better Olympics. And this was such an awesome way to finish it up."

• The high jump was projected as a potential U.S. medal, though it was Chaunte Lowe who came in with the most expectations. Instead, it was teammate Brigetta Barrett, 21, who won this year's NCAA title for Arizona, who won a silver medal.

Barrett jumped 6-8, a personal best, behind only Russian gold medalist Anna Chicherova, who jumped 6-8¾.

• The three medals raised the U.S. track and field total to 29, one shy of a goal set some time ago by since-ousted USATF CEO Doug Logan but clung to by his predecessor Max Siegel.

The men's marathon is the last chance to reach 30, but Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman are considered long shots.

• Britain's Mo Farah won the 5,000 meters, adding a second gold to the one he won in the 10,000, holding off a mad dash in the stretch from Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. ... Mariya Savinova of Russia won the women's 800 in 1:56.19. Caster Semenya of South Africa, three years after being forced to undergo gender tests, came from off the pace to claim silver. ... Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago won the men's javelin.

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