Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at bat in baseball and Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in his final game (although, the great Denver Broncos defense deserves the most credit for that win). But for the greatest athletes in their sports, going out on top isn't always in the cards as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt found out Saturday at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England.
Bolt was running the final leg of the 4x100m marathon for Jamaica. When he got passed the baton from teammate Yohan Blake he was already behind the runners from the United States and Great Britain, but catching up to them to win Gold in his last, ever race was not in the cards. And sadly, neither was finishing.
Bolt would cramp up early in his leg of the race and go down to the track. NBC Olympics tweeted out this image of the moment with Bolt lying on the track with a pained look on his face.
BREAKING: Usain Bolt does not finish his final race. pic.twitter.com/a0c4Ej31Ai— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2017
Home town team Great Britain won the race in a surprise victory over race-favorites U.S.A while Bolt and the entire Jamaican relay team did eventually end up walking across the finish line.
This is obviously not how Bolt wanted his illustrious career to end. And after only getting a Bronze in the 100-meter race, a better showing in the relay would have sent him off into the track & Field sunset on a high note. But regardless of that, Bolt's career has been a series of high notes almost unparalleled in sprinting.
He won 11 World Championship gold medals including consecutive golds in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay from 2009 to 2015 (except for the 2011 100m due to a false start). And his Olympic career has been the greatest of all time among men who compete in his sport.
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Bolt is the only sprinter in history to win the Olympic 100m and 200m races in three straight Olympic games (2008, 2012, 2016). Add those to the three 4x100m relay golds he won at each of those games and he is an eight-time Olympic gold medalist (only 8 because the gold from the 2008 4x100 relay was taken away from him due to the doping disqualification of teammate Nesta Carter discovered nine years later).
Bolt wasn't able to walk off the track a winner this time. But he is the greatest winner in his sport of all time.