August 13, 2012
What's next for Bolt?
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the men's 100-metre final. - ap
Toting his third gold medal of the London Games, Usain Bolt gave a little wave to 80,000 or so of his best friends in the Olympic Stadium stands.
Almost immediately, the questions started: What did that mean? Was Bolt bidding adieu for good? Will he be back? Will the world get to watch him sprint on his sport's biggest stage again in 2016?
"It was a goodbye to London. I was just having fun with the crowd,'' the Jamaican explained. "I came here to London to become a legend, and I am a legend, and I wanted to thank them for supporting me.''
He accomplished exactly what he wanted to at the 2012 Olympics.
Three events - the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 relay - and three victories. Plenty of pre-and post-race preening.
Just like at Beijing in 2008.
As for trying to go for a Triple Triple four years from now, Bolt insisted Rio de Janeiro isn't necessarily in the offing.
"The possibility is there, but it's going to be very hard. ... I've done all I want to do,'' said Bolt, who turns 26 on August 21. "I've got no more goals.''
He came up with three remarkable runs, improving his career mark to 6 for 6 in Olympic finals.
In more than a century of modern Olympics, no man had set world records while winning the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay, until Bolt did it in Beijing.
None had won the 200 metres twice, let alone completed a 100-200 double twice - until Bolt did so in 2008 and 2012.
Now he's added a second consecutive sprint relay title, too, pulling away down the stretch and bringing his best right through the finish line to close the track schedule Saturday night with a world record in the relay.
"When he got the stick,'' said Tyson Gay, part of the US team that finished second, "there was nothing we could do about it.''
Looking ahead to Rio, Bolt pointed out that he'll turn 30 that year, while the closest thing he has to a rival, training partner Yohan Blake, will only be 26.
It was Blake who beat his buddy in the 100 and 200 finals at the Jamaican Olympic trials, raising the idea in some minds that Bolt could have trouble in London.
So much for that.
Bolt won the Olympic 100 in 9.63 seconds - the second-fastest dash in history, behind his own record of 9.58 - and the 200 in 19.32, with Blake taking silver in both races.
Even those other athletes are among those curious about Bolt's future. Maybe he'll take up the long jump. Maybe the 400 (although he says that's too much of a grind for his tastes).