London • If Saturday night marked the end of Usain Bolt’s transcendent Olympic career, the Jamaican sensation went out in spectacular fashion. Bolt anchored Jamaica to a world record in the 4x100-meter relay in the final track event of London 2012, beating a U.S. team that broke the American record.
With 100-meter silver medalist Yohan Blake taking Jamaica into the lead on the third leg and Bolt bringing it home, Jamaica ran a 36.84 to break the world mark it set at the world championships last year, and the Olympic record it set four years ago. Team USA finished in 37.04 for silver, and Trinidad and Tobago took bronze in 38.12.
It was also a historic night for American Allyson Felix, who ran on a 4x400 team to claim her third gold medal of the Games. Felix won the 200 meters Wednesday night and ran on the 4x100 team that shattered a world record on Friday.
Felix became the second woman to win gold in both relays. Chandra Cheeseborough did it in 1984.
“I couldn’t have asked for a greater Olympics, and I just feel so blessed,” Felix said. “This is such an awesome way to end it, running on the 4x4 on the last night. It couldn’t have been better.”
Bolt will turn 26 next week. He wouldn’t necessarily be too old to run in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but he has been talking about how difficult it will be to stay ahead of Blake. Blake is 22 and has come so far so fast that he is nicknamed “The Beast.”
But Bolt leaves here a living legend in his own mind, having again won the 100 and 200 meters, even if International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said he needs more longevity to be regarded as a legend.
“What else do I need to do to prove myself as a legend?” Bolt said. “First, world record holder in both events. I’ve won both events twice at the Olympics. I’ve won world championship gold medals. I’ve broken the world record many times. I don’t know what else to do.
“Next time you see [Rogge], I think you should ask him what Usain need to do that no human has ever done, because I’ve done it already.”
Team USA equalled the world record Jamaica set last year and finished 0.18 seconds behind. Team USA handled its exchanges but simply wasn’t fast enough.
“We are not normal,” Blake said. “To run 36 is not normal. We are from space. I’m from Mars, because I am not normal, I am The Beast.”
Bolt rolled his eyes at that.
“I’ve said to him, he needs to stop talking like that,” Bolt said, “or somebody’s going to put him in a straitjacket.”
Bolt said the U.S. men have a lot of work to do to catch up with Jamaica, but Tyson Gay defended his team that included Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey and Trell Kimmons.
“It is what it is, they’ve got a tough team,” Gay said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got athletes sitting at home who can contribute to our relay team as well. Ryan Bailey, he’s young, he’s about to get better, and we’re all going to get better. They’re on right now, we can’t take nothing from them, but I believe we can run 36.8 as well.”
Team USA wrapped up an impressive Olympics on the track. It won the most medals (29) by a substantial margin over the second team on the table, Russia (18), and the most gold medals (nine). The women tied for most gold medals (six) with Russia, and the men tied for most gold medals (three) with Jamaica and Great Britain.