Kingston: Usain Bolt ran his final 100 metre race on Jamaican soil on Saturday. At the National Stadium, Bolt bid his devoted fans an emotional farewell as he won the 100 metre ‘Salute to a Legend’ on the same track where he launched his international career at the World Juniors in 2002.
Almost 30,000 fans cheered the 30-year-old on as he leaped out of the blocks and cruised to a win with a time of 10.03. It was well below his world record time, but it was good enough to defeat a solid field.
Thank you Jamaica????
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) June 11, 2017
“I don’t think I have ever been that nervous to run the 100 metres,” said Bolt, who is retiring in August following the World Championships. “Just the atmosphere and the people. The support they came out and gave me, it was really nerve-wracking.”
After the race the Bolt took a victory lap then returned to the track and the No. 5 lane where he kissed the finish line before flashing his signature lightning-bolt pose for the final time at home.
“There is no words,” Bolt said. “From world juniors to now I have always been getting great support from Jamaica. I never thought I would ever reach this height in track and field. My only aim was to be a 200 metre Olympic champion. I have done all I have done. Being a legend now is something big. But I couldn’t have done it without the support of my parents.”
The nine-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt did not run in the fastest 100 metre race of the evening, but his devoted fans didn’t care.
Bolt said the reception he received was larger and louder than he anticipated. “I never expected this. I knew it was going to be big but the stadium was jam-packed with people supporting me I appreciate that,” he said. Since this was his first race of 2017, Bolt said his biggest concern was just putting on a good show.
The Jamaican speedster says his farewell season is more about saying thank you to his fans than trying to break his world records of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.19 seconds in the 200 metres.
Bolt was honoured during a 20 minute ceremony on the infield which was attended by his coach Glen Mills and Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.