LONDON — Usain Bolt ended his stellar career in excruciating pain.
The Jamaican great crumpled to the track with a left-leg injury as he was chasing a final gold medal for the Jamaican 4×100-meter relay team on Saturday at the world championships.
Having to make up lots of ground on the anchor leg, Bolt suddenly screamed and stumbled as he came down with his golden farewell shattered by the first injury he has experienced at a major competition.
That wasn’t the only surprise.
Britain went on to beat the United States in a tight finish.
The 60,000-capacity stadium was primed for one last Bolt show, one last “To the World” pose after a victory, but the injury made it blatantly clear why Bolt is ready to retire. His body can no longer hold up.
His teammates on the once-fabled Jamaican sprint squad were far from unmatchable, too. Bolt had just too much to make up in the final 100 meters as both Britain and the United States were ahead and even Japan was even.
As Bolt fell to the ground, the leg with the golden shoe giving way, the crowd still went wild because the home team went on to win gold in 37.47 seconds, .05 seconds ahead of the United States.
It was yet another amazing upset in a championship of so many.
Before Bolt came onto the track, he was consoling Mo Farah, his long-distance equivalent who had just lost his first major race since 2011 when he failed to get gold in the 5,000 meters. Farah also was bidding farewell to the track, coming up short of his fifth straight 5,000-10,000 double at major championships in a sprint against Muktar Edris Ethiopia.
“I gave it all,” Farah said. “I didn’t have a single bit left at the end.”
Instead, Tori Bowie was the unlikely first double gold medalist at the championships, anchoring the U.S. team to the 4×100-meter relay title ahead of Britain and Jamaica.
At the same time, Allyson Felix, running the second leg on the winning team, earned a record 15th medal at the world championships in a career going back to 2005.
Bowie, who won the 100 meters this week, ran a strong anchor leg, leaving behind the opposition to finish in 41.82 seconds.
“Two gold medals is amazing for me,” Bowie said. “We are on top of the world.”