The British team pipped a Gatlin-led US quartet in a dramatic finish to the men's 4x100m relay at the World Championships last night, but as Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake surged across the line, many eyes were cast about 50 metres behind him at the stricken figure of Usain Bolt.
In his final race at a major championship, Bolt pulled up with a hamstring injury and was unable to finish the race. He was helped off the track by his teammates, his eyes wet with tears.
Here's how it happened:
While such an ending may seem like a strike for cruel and fickle fate, his teammates believe the blame can be attributed to a more tangible source: the organisers of the race.
Yohan Blake believes their decision to leave Bolt and the rest of the field in a cold call room for more than 40 minutes ahead of the race caused the injury.
They were holding us too long in the call room. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me: ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy. Forty minutes and two medal presentations before our run.’
We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. Then we saw a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that.
Omar McLeod echoed these complaints:
It was ridiculous. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat. But it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time.
There was a disappointing - although less cruel - ending for Mo Farah, too. He failed to win the men's 5,000m final, although he did manage to snaffle silver. Viewers, however, would be forgiven for not realising there was anybody else racing, judging by the fawning coverage on the BBC.