Last year, Yael and I decided to not get each other Chanukah or Christmas presents, and instead spend the money on a decent ticket to see Bolt’s last ever 100m race, at the World Athletics Championships in London.
We had pretty good seats – 20 rows from the track, on the bottom tier! We got the tickets because we knew Bolt would be racing, but there was plenty to keep us occupied!
The Shot Put was too far from us, so we couldn’t see it at all, but the discus was right next to us. These men were GIANTS! When the Lithuanian winner stood next to a normal sized man, he was a good foot and a half taller! Here they are before the competition started:
The semi-finals of the 100m were on the other side of the track to us, but luckily we still had a great view. Bolt didn’t win his semi-final…in fact, the scoreboard malfunctioned, and as the order of the winners came up, Bolt wasn’t even shown in the top 5! There was a collective gasp from the crowd, until the announcement came that Bolt had indeed finished second, and qualified for the 100m final, as expected!
The 1500m semi finals were nothing to write home about, but it was fantastic to see Caster Semenya running in the race (and qualifying!) when her usual distance is 800m.
We had a decent view of the long jump. Yael kept commenting that they all wore long socks. Turned out, she was only watching one guy in the long jump, and focusing on other events when it wasn’t him jumping! South Africa smashed the long jump, and celebrated by kneeling on the track and praying. Come on Greg – get back to full fitness and you’ll be winning the next World Champs!
Next up was the 10,000m. I said to Yael ‘the world record in this is over 26 minutes, so it’ll probably be quite boring’…..but how wrong I was! The Ethiopian athlete Ayana pulled away after a few laps, and just dominated the field, lapping all but the chasing pack of athletes (and she was only about 100m from lapping them too!).
The 200m women’s Heptathlon included Nafi Thiam (who went on to win gold – she’s amazing), and Katarina Johnson-Thompson. KJT stormed home, leaving the rest of the field trailing in her wake. That propelled her up the table, from pretty low down, to 4th or 5th (ultimately she couldn’t get a medal though). She’s a funny one. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of mental strength – hopefully with age, she can work on this!
Then to the 100m final. Bolt’s final ever race. It had to be, surely?
Nope. Two time drug cheat Justin Gatlin won, with Coleman coming second. The entire stadium booed. How can someone who has been found guilty of drug taking TWICE, be allowed to compete as such a prestigious event!? Gatlin didn’t even do a lap of honour…but Bolt did. The man of the moment. The only person we were interested in cheering. This isn’t a great photo, but in the middle of the big crowd, you can see a yellow vest, and a man that is a good foot taller than everyone around him. Yup, the main man himself.
Bolt did more for athletics than Gatlin ever has or ever will do. Bolt made athletics cool – Gatlin makes it farcical.
Here are all the fastest 100m times, with people convicted of being drugs cheats, crossed out in red….
Yeah. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of the times not crossed out, has been run by Bolt – the only athlete who hasn’t taken any performance enhancing supplements! The only clean 100m champion in a scarily long time How sad.
Overall, the day was fantastic. For some reason, the discus medal ceremony didn’t go ahead, which was a shame, as it would’ve been a great experience, but to see Bolt running in his final ever 100m was something I won’t forget in a hurry!