Bolt leads Jamaica home in penultimate race

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt started the final countdown to his retirement by guiding Jamaica through to the 4x100m relay final at the World Championships.

Britain were second in the first heat in 37.76, also faster than Jamaica's time, while Japan were third.

The Justin Gatlin-led U.S. team took silver, 0.05secs behind, while Japan claimed a surprise bronze (38.04).

Bolt pulled up injured halfway through his leg and didn't finish the race.

After the race, Gatlin bowed down to Bolt as if saluting a king or being remorseful for ruining the Jamaican's chance of ending his career with a record fourth gold medal in the blue-ribbon 100m.

The four - the same line-up who won Team GB's first 4x100m relay bronze in 32 years in Rio last summer - crossed the line 0.09 seconds behind the US, with Germany qualifying as third fastest.

Through most of the race, it looked as if Bolt would be trying to reel in Coleman, the NCAA champion, who was in Lane 5, and got out faster than anyone in the field.

They also advanced to the final.

We had a 100m winner Gatlin booed to the rafters and a 200m victor Ramil Guliyev, whose winning time was almost a second slower than Bolt's best and who ended up being interrogated in the victory press conference about his adopted country Turkey's doping record. But the medal payouts are a pittance compared to decent endorsement deals: In 2016, Jamaica paid roughly $10,000 for each gold medal an athlete brought home.

After easing past the finish line, Bolt ran down the track as he usually does and clapped towards the crowd.

But I maintain that the only difference between Bolt and Gatlin in this respect is that Bolt was smarter, luckier, or better protected.

"I've done my best as always; went out there and gave my all and I'm just happy to be here and looking forward to the 4×100", added, the 100m and 200m world record holder who has helped Jamaica win the last four world 4×100 titles.

Bolt acknowledged that Yohan Blake would likely come in for the final, all the while praising his less experienced relay teammates.

"The young runners in our team - it is just about executing and coming through the race for them".

'We have been training that relay, there were some camps. But both he and Thompson are slated to run in the men's and women's 4x100 meter relays, respectively, Saturday.

It's not the most intimidating Jamaican quartet - it does not have the aura of the teams that have won the event at every major championship since 2008 - the team that has beaten its nearest rival by an average of.20 seconds since 2009.

Olympic champions United States won the first heat in a world leading time of 41.84 seconds, even in the absence of individual 100m champion Torie Bowie.

The Netherlands, with 200-meter champion Dafne Schippers running the second leg, qualified on time.

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