The sporting public were denied a fairytale ending to Usain Bolt’s solo 100m career when American Justin Gatlin took gold in the World Championship final, and some found the outcome too galling to bare.
Bolt’s final dash at the London Stadium resulted in a bronze medal, behind not only Gatlin but his young compatriot Christian Coleman.
A chorus of boos from a crowd unhappy with Gatlin’s doping past rang around the arena in a slightly surreal conclusion to the blue-chip event.
Gatlin was banned for one year after testing positive in 2001 for an amphetamine contained in attention deficit disorder medication (ADD), and for four years after failing a test for the banned star.
Many voiced there unease about the result on social media, and asked whether athletics’ post-Bolt era would only herald bring more uncertainty and controversy.
Former Olympic heptathlete Kelly Sotherton and others summed up the mood of many.
As some fumed over the sight of Galtin crossing the line, for others the result was not enough to dim the passing into legend of Usain Bolt. The Jamaican amassed 19 global gold medals, eight Olympic victories and 11 from the World Championships, and still has a chance to secure one more in the 4x100m relay before retirement.
Gatlin’s celebrations were a sideshow as Bolt still took the plaudits and did a lap of honour, still playing to the crowd when the stadium was emptying.
He said in a trackside interview: “It’s wonderful (the crowd’s reception), I never expected this.
It’s just a wonderful experience. London I really appreciate the support you have given me.
I’m just really sorry I couldn’t end up winning.”
“My start is killing me. Normally, it gets better during the rounds but it didn’t come together.”
“I tuned it out (the boos) through the rounds and stayed the course. I did what I had to do,” Gatlin said.
“The people who love me are here cheering for me and cheering at home.
“It is Bolt’s last race. I have had many victories and many defeats down the years. It is an amazing occasion. We are rivals on the track but in the warm-down area we joke and have a good time.
The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn’t deserve the boos. He is an inspiration.”