Usain Bolt's final race

Lessons learnt from Usain Bolt’s final race

Jamaica's Usain Bolt, center, pulls up injured in the final of the Men's 4x100m relay during the World Athletics Championships in London Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. At right is United States' Christian Coleman. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, center, pulls up injured in the final of the Men’s 4x100m relay during the World Athletics Championships in London Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

My girlfriend and I were on our way to the beach to take photos for our blogs when this race was scheduled to go down. We tuned into a live feed just as the race was being announced and I started to look for parking. The feed began to stick and came back just in time for the first baton handover. In a flash Bolt went tumbling and I stopped in the middle of the road as we tried to figure out what this was that we were seeing on our screen?!?!?! What just happened? Did Bolt fall? OMG!

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Usain Bolt's final race

This image will forever be burned in the minds of Jamaicans. It was Usain Bolt’s final race. He had just come third in his final individual race, the 100m sprint. Though we were all disappointed, we were all looking forward to the 4×100 relays where we were sure our men would deliver another medal for us. This was to be our redeeming moment. All of Jamaica, may be the world, stopped dead in their tracks when Usain Bolt went down. Come third if you must, but don’t be injured! Don’t go down! We need you! It was a most difficult thing to see our sprint hero cry out for pain and roll over on the track. My heart fell with him.

Getting Over the Heartbreak

After it all sank in and I had some time to analyze this whole world championships that had just been disastrous for Jamaica on a whole, I began to see all the takeaways, especially from Usain Bolt’s final race, that provided lessons to be learned. Two very big lessons that stand right out are being graceful in defeat, and living a life so honourably that disappointments never takeaway from the legacy built. When Usain came third in his 100m finals, he was grateful for his medal, apologetic to the nation of Jamaica and his worldwide fans and assured us that he had done his best. But we already knew that and needed no apologies. He congratulated his long time rival Justin Gatlin on his gold medal and stayed on the track to take pictures with his adoring fans. That is surely a lesson on how to lose gracefully. It humanizes us and shows a humble and endearing side of the fun loving character we’ve all come to know and love.

With all Usain’s glittering gold medals and world records, we’ve never seen an arrogance from him that left a bad taste in our mouth. We’ve never seen him gloat or showboat excessively in his celebrations and he’s always remained humble, grateful, accommodating and cheerful. When he injured himself on the track in the relays, we learned yet another lesson. All our heroes are human and can hurt too. Can fail too. Can be injured too. Can be disappointed too. The way he was celebrated in defeat and injury and the way we all rushed to ensure he was ok and tell him how much we still love and adore him and are so grateful for his contributions to athletics, shows us just how stellar of a career he has had and just how good of a guy he is. The takeaway here is

[bctt tweet=”Live your best life, stay true to self and a handful of disappointments won’t tarnish what you’ve built” username=”iriediva”]

Usain has false started, has been in paparazzi scandals, has lost races and has been hurt but will always be remembered as the fun-loving guy who brought a smile to our faces, gold medals and world records to his home country all with a clean doping record. How’s that for a legacy?

Jamaica flag wrap on beach

I’m so proud to be a Jamaican! What lessons did you learn from our legend’s final performances?

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  1. Your words rang true girlie. My heart broke for Bolt but his legacy wasnt damaged. I respect him probably more now because his grace in victory is the same in loss.

  2. When a person has made a positive impact on my life, made me cry such happy tears, make my country’s flag fly so high, so many times, i stick with him to the end