Usain Bolt marked an emotional farewell at a sell-out stadium in Jamaica by winning his final 100m on home soil.
The 30-year-old will bring down the curtain on his illustrious career when he retires in August after the World Championships in London and began his goodbye in front of 30,000 adoring fans in Kingston.
Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt competed for the final time in his native Jamaica on Saturday night, winning the 100 meters at the JN Racers Grand Prix race at Kingston’s National Stadium.
Bolt finished the 100-meter sprint with a time of 10.03, well short of his nearly eight-year-old world record of 9.58., but equal to his first 100-meter race 10 years ago.
Following the race, the skies above the stadium lit up with a fireworks display. Bolt says he plans to end his career at the world championships in London in August.
“There are no words. From World Juniors, the support that I have been getting from Jamaica has been remarkable,” Bolt said afterward, according to the The Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica. “I could not have done this without my parents, my friends, my best friend, NJ. I want to thank Jamaica. I never expected this. It’s big to see everybody turn out. It shows that they appreciated what I did, and it was a honor for me.”
Some 30,000 people attended the event, labeled “Tribute to a Legend.” Among them were IAAF President Sebastian Coe and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Kenya’s David Rudisha and Mo Farah of Great Britain — both winners of multiple Olympic golds — were among those in attendance.
The IAAF website quoted Coe as saying he was there “just to thank someone who has changed the face of our sport, and has encouraged so many young people to our sport.”
Holness tweeted: “Saluting a legend. Thank you (at)usainbolt for all you have done for the sport of athletics and Jamaica.”
Bolt’s Olympic tally of nine gold medals went down one in January due to a doping case involving his former 4×100-meter teammate Nesta Carter. The two were teammates on the winning relay team in the 2008 Olympics, which also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.
That relay in Beijing started Bolt’s run of gold-medal sweeps in the 100, 200 and relay at three straight Olympics.