LONDON — Be it a gold medal or a souvenir from a record relay run, Usain Bolt always gets what he wants at the Olympics.
The Jamaican will leave London a perfect 3 for 3 — three events, three victories — just the way he departed Beijing four years ago.
About even with the last U.S. runner when he got the baton for the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay, Bolt steadily pulled away down the stretch, gritting his teeth and leaning at the line to cap his perfect Summer Games by leading Jamaica to the title in a world-record 36.84 seconds Saturday night.
After crossing the line, Bolt pleaded with an official to let him keep the yellow baton he was clutching. But the answer was “No,” and Bolt handed it over while some nearby spectators booed. About 40 minutes later, that same official approached Bolt and returned the stick. Bolt responded with a bow of thanks and kissed the baton.
One more possession to help him remember his week at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, where any mention of Bolt’s name drew raucous cheers, countless camera flashes and chants of “Usain!” or “We want Bolt!”
“It’s amazing. It’s been wonderful,” Bolt said in an interview shown on the scoreboard.
Talking to the specators, he said: “You guys are wonderful. Thanks for the support. I love you guys.”
Bolt added the relay gold to the ones he earned in the 100 in 9.63 seconds last Sunday — the second-fastest time in history — and the 200 in 19.32 on Thursday. The runner-up in both individual sprints, Bolt’s pal and training partner Yohan Blake, ran the third leg of the relay, following Nesta Carter and Michael Frater.
The U.S. quartet of Trell Kimmons, 100 bronze medalist Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey got the silver in 37.04, equaling the old record that Bolt helped set at last year’s world championships. Trinidad & Tobago took the bronze in 38.12. Canada, which was third across the line, was disqualified for running outside its lane, and its appeal was rejected.
As Blake and Gay rounded the race’s final curve, they were pretty much in sync, stride for stride.
But when that duo was done, the relay came down to Bolt vs. Bailey, who was fifth in the 100 meters in 9.88.
Really not a fair matchup.
The 6-foot-5 Bolt’s long strides churned up the track, and Bailey had no chance to keep up. Bolt kept adding to his lead and spared his now-customary showboating at the finish, instead driving through the line.
Then began the celebration, something Bolt relishes as much as running, it seems.
He posed with Blake, each doing a signature pose. Bolt did his “To the World” move, where he leans back and points to the sky. Blake curled his hands as if they were claws while making a scary face to match the nickname Bolt gave him, “The Beast.”
After removing his spikes, Bolt danced barefoot to the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” as it played on the arena loudspeakers. Later, wearing his latest gold medal, Bolt waved his fingers toward the stands, trying to get fans in the stands to do the wave. And they did.
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