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Athletics

Five things we learned from day nine – saying the right thing and London wasn’t a glittering farewell for Bolt

Usain Bolt of Jamaica during the 4x100m final.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica during the 4x100m final. John Sibley/REUTERS

A hunky celebration and yet another proof of how unpredictable sports can be.

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Athletes know how to say the right thing

Fresh – well perhaps that’s not the right word after two days of competition -  from winning the decathlon, Kevin Mayer gasped his joy at claiming his first world championship title. “I would like to say thank you to all the public. You are the most amazing public in the world.” Loud cheers. Smart, this Frenchman.

Athletes don’t know the right thing to do

As the TV cameras went along the line before the start of the men’s 5,000 metres, Paul Chelimo from the United States did the mobot – the Mo Farah celebration where you make an ‘M’ over your head  – and then slid his finger across his throat. Loud whistles. Not smart, this American. But the 26-year-old later explained the gestures saying that he meant to make it hard for Farah in his last race. “I respect Mo,” said Chelimo. “When I get up every day, I think of him and what I have to do to be better than him. He has made me better. Now that he’s going when I go to the track I’m going to run for Mo.” Ah, right.

They’re guys, these guys

The decathletes are a tough bunch. Ten disciplines including the pole vault, shot put and javelin over two days to determine the world’s best all round athlete. There’s an esprit de corps and that was no more apparent than when the guys asked the winner Kevin Mayer how he wanted to celebrate his triumph. He came up with the retiring idea of them all ripping off their shirts. Game to a man, they all took off their shirts and posed for the post competition picture. Wow. A sea of rippling six packs. Loud cheers. Smart, these hunks

It’s unpredictable this sport thing

The fans came in their thousands expecting redemption for Usain Bolt in the 4x100m relay. What they got was the sight of the great man pulling up injured and collapsing in the home stretch as the American and British anchors sped away. Joy and shock were merged in a 20 second burst as Bolt lay in pain on the track and the Briton Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake powered on to the gold. Mitchell-Blake turned back and rushed past the stricken Jamaican to look for his team mates CJ Ujah, Danny Talbot and Adam Gemili to celebrate the unlikeliest of victories. 

London 2017 was a disaster for Usain Bolt but great sport

A special celebration has been scheduled for Usain Bolt on day 10 which is the final day of competition at the championships. It will include a video montage of his best moments on the track. How many hours are they planning? There is unlikely to be anything from London 2017. In his penultimate race before retirement, he won bronze in the 100 metres final and in the final race, he did not even finish. Not exactly a glittering au revoir but the disappointing coda just serves to highlight his utter vibrant wondrousness over nine years.

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