Bolt falls short of perfection at worlds

Updated: 23 August 2009 16:18 IST

Usain Bolt's third gold medal of the world championships failed to produce a third world record.


Usain Bolt's third gold medal of the world championships failed to produce a third world record because the Jamaican 4x100 relay team only managed to produce the second-fastest time in history.

"It is a little bit my fault," an apologetic Bolt said, complaining was just too tired after nine races in eight days.

"I didn't run the best third leg. I was happy to get around the track and give the baton to Asafa," he said. "I am dying right now."

Compounding Bolt's fatigue was Asafa Powell's groin injury, which made the anchor runner uncertain until one hour before the start.

Since the Beijing Olympics, Bolt had won five major gold medals with a world record each time. But after his latest two in Berlin, the Jamaican star and his teammates fell short of perfection.

"The main thing that counted was getting the gold," Bolt said.

With Powell taking the baton from Bolt for the last leg, Jamaica won in 37.31 seconds, a championship record but slower than the world record mark of 37.10 they set in Beijing last year.

Trinidad and Tobago took silver and Britain got bronze.

The absence of the record left the ever ebullient Bolt initially subdued. Instead of his antics and mimicking, Bolt sat down on the track and stretched. He untied his shoes and hugged Powell.

They planned for a big party in Berlin, though.

"It is top secret where we are going," Bolt said.

"Any where he is going, I am going," Powell added.

Bolt has plenty of reason to celebrate. The 100 and 200 world-record holder was perfect when it came to his three golds, much like Jesse Owens was 73 years ago when he went four-for-four at the same stadium during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

And on Saturday, it was another American to take gold in the long jump.

During a final laden with symbolism, Dwight Phillips jumped 8.54 meters on his second attempt to win. His main rival, Olympic champion Irving Saladino of Panama, was eliminated with three no-jumps.

Phillips got his third world championship gold medal from Owens' granddaughter, Marlene Hemphill Dortch, later Saturday, smiling and hugging her.

"That is just history looking at me in the face. I was so honored," said Phillips.

Owens won four gold medals in 1936, and as a black athlete became a symbol of racial equality in sports during the days when Adolf Hitler promoted white Aryan supremacy.

The Olympic Stadium did see a world record, just not the one it expected.

Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland set a world record of 77.96 meters to win the hammer throw and earn a $160,000 check for winning a title with a record.

Wlodarczyk reached the mark on her second effort and did not make any other attempts until the sixth and final series. Betty Heidler of Germany won silver.

Despite the long jump victory Saturday, it still was a bittersweet day for the American team. The United States failed to make the women's 4x100 relay final, with Muna Lee falling to the ground injured after a handover in the heats.

The accident compounded the US relay problems one day after the men's team was disqualified from its heat for handing over the baton outside the designated zone.

The incident ruined the ambition of 200-meter champion Allyson Felix, who was trying to equal her accomplishment from two years ago when she won three golds at the worlds in Osaka, Japan.

Instead, Jamaica ran to victory in 42.06 seconds, beating the Bahamas for silver and Germany for bronze.

With Bolt's relay win, it was Jamaica's fifth sprint victory at the world championships, extending the country's overwhelming domination over the Americans.

With one day to go, the United States led the medal standings with seven gold and 17 overall, edging the Jamaicans with 7 gold and 12 overall.

Earlier yesterday, Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai made sure Kenya is keeping its edge over Ethiopia, finishing 1-2 in the men's marathon.

The intense African rivalry for medal supremacy swung Kenya's way for good under the Brandenburg Gate when the two Kenyans ran Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia into submission in the fastest marathon in world championship history.

Kenya rubbed it in at the Olympic Stadium later when Vivian Cheruiyot led Kenya to a 1-2 finish in the women's 5,000, and reduced Ethiopian favorite Meseret Defar to bronze.

The double 1-2 finish gave Kenya four golds and 10 overall, and left Ethiopia with one gold and six overall.

Perhaps the most amazing gold of the evening came in the pole vault, where Steve Hooker knew a right leg injury gave him only a few attempts at gold.

It was a "ridiculous plan" but it worked.

The Australian took only two jumps in a bold gamble but cleared 5.90 meters to snatch gold ahead French vaulters Romain Mesnil and Renaud Lavillenie.

Topics : Athletics
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