Article originally published 20/08/2016: due to a technical issue this article may have resurfaced for some readers, and the original publish date may not have been visible.
Usain Bolt’s Olympic swansong saw the greatest ever track and field athlete win his third gold medal in each of three Olympics - the triple-triple.
The Jamaican’s perfect record never looked in doubt when, in the 4x400 metre final in Rio, he was handed the baton when neck-and-neck with the US and Japan. There was only going to be one winner.
Bolt, who after his 200m victory on Thursday night kissed Rio’s Olympic Stadium track goodbye following his last individual race at a Games, brought the defending champions home in 37.27 seconds.
He signed off from his sport’s biggest stage in trademark fashion as he took the baton from Nickel Ashmeade and, knees high and arms pumping, stormed away from second-placed Japan to huge cheers.
His achievement, unprecedented, bears stating. A clean sweep of 100m, 200m and sprint relay golds from three successive Games, to bring his gold medal haul to nine.
Earlier this month, the 29-year-old confirmed Rio would be his last Olympics.
“Yes, this is the last Olympics for sure, I have done everything, and have proven myself,” he told reporters at a press conference.
The “fastest man on earth” leaves the Olympic stage having revived a dying, sometimes blighted sport with an infectious personality and incredible speed.