That showed when he outlined his priorities for the postseason after running 9.58 seconds over 100m and 19.19 seconds over 200m, and getting gold with the Jamaican sprint relay as well. “Go home, go on vacation, go clubbing, go to the beach. That’s why I want to end the season injury-free,” he quipped.
Bolt will have nothing to prove anymore as the season winds down after Berlin and he is too exhausted, anyway. He can just soak up the praise and take home the three-metres high chunk of the Berlin Wall he got from mayor Klaus Wowereit after tearing down the latest sprint barriers amid his usual showboating. “Usain Bolt is the most popular sportsman, not just the most popular athlete,” world athletics supremo Lamine Diack said in praise of his biggest asset.
Long jump world record holder Mike Powell named him “a freak-of- nature athlete” whose “pure athleticism is unparalleled,” and suggested he had the ideal physiognomy to break the 9-metres barrier in long jump. More likely is a move up to the 400m next year if Bolt decides to add an event to his repertoire or just to further redefine the sprints. “My aim is to become a legend. I am working on it. It is getting there. But two seasons isn’t enough,” he said. “I had great championships and got two records. I came here, did my best, although I was not in my best shape. … I didn’t say I wasn’t fast enough.
The difficulty was the many rounds.”Bolt’s heroics helped Jamaica deal the United States rivals another crushing blow for sprint superiority with a final score of 5-1, a similar rout to the 5-0 at the Olympics. The only US win came from Allyson Felix in the 200m as even three time defending champ Tyson Gay had to bow to Bolt, trailing by a massive 13 hundredth and then skipping the 200. Gay aimed to return for the relays but never got a chance as – like in Beijing – neither the men’s nor the women’s relay made the final. The US nonetheless topped the final medal tally after 47 events with 10 gold, six silver and six bronze in the stadium where Jesse Owens famously won four Olympic golds in 1936.
That was better than the Beijing haul of 7-9-7 but not matching the Osaka 2007 worlds record of 14-4-8. Athletics in the host country Germany were reborn with a tally of 2-3-4 and all athletes were cheered on by some 400,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium, and hundredth of thousands more who lined the courses for the walks and marathons which were held for the first time outside the stadium. The biggest sports event of the year brought together 1,984 athletes from 201 countries, with more than 30 countries getting medals and almost 60 making finals.
On the downside, Nigerian 400 metres hurdles runner Amaka Ogoegbunam and Moroccan steeplechaser Jamal Chatbi were caught doping in some 1,000 tests carried out. Diack also admitted that the case of 800m champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, who was told by the IAAF to undergo a gender verification test over concerns about her meteoric rise and boyish looks, could have treated in a better way. “The issue could have been treated with more sensitivity. I admit that we are unhappy, we could have done better,” said the athletics supremo. “But this is definitely not a case of racism.”
Kenenisa Bekele became the first man to get a long distance double at the worlds after winning the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Olympics, but the Ethiopians had to suffer defeat to rivals Kenya and others in the women’s distance races and the marathons. Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva no-heighted and Panama long jumper Irving Saladino fouled his three attempts in the biggest upsets.
Steve Hooker of Australia won the men’s pole vault with just two jumps as he was plagued by a groin injury, while Cuban hurdles star Dayron Robles and Ethiopian distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba led a long injury list. LaShawn Merritt beat Jeremy Wariner again in the 400m, Russia became the first nation to sweep the three walks, and Blanka Vlasic rebounded from Olympic disaster to retain the high jump title in a hyped battle with local Ariane Friedrich, and Poland’s hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk joined Bolt as a Berlin world record holder. “We have been living a fantastic championship. All the promises from Beijing have been kept,” said Diack.
The Caribbean region, with a total medal haul of 26 medals, was led by Jamaica with 13, followed by Cuba (6), Trinidad and Tobago (3), the Bahamas (2) and one each for Barbados and Puerto Rico.