After Thursday evening’s gold medal performance in the 200m, Usain Bolt confirmed what had been the sense around the sport for some time: Rio would be his final Olympic Games.
Usain Bolt: "This is my last Olympics, because I can't prove anything else."
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 19, 2016
This was not the first we heard that this would be the last time we would see Bolt compete at the Olympics. Back in 2013, prior to a mid-June Diamond League meet in Rome, Italy, the Jamaican told reporters that he only saw himself as having four more years in the sport, which would take the 2020 Olympics out of the question.
Bolt will have one more race in Rio as he is likely to be a member of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team when the final of that event is contested Friday night. If Jamaica can manage to win gold, it will be the third consecutive games that he will have taken gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.
Prior to Rio, Bolt was the only man in history to have won the 200m twice, but now he is also the only man to have won it three times. Earlier in the week, he became the first man ever to win three Olympic 100m titles as well. Regardless of the outcome of Friday nights 4x100m relay, Bolt will go down as one of the greatest track athletes of all time as he currently owns world records in both the 100m and 200m that don’t appear likely to be broken soon.
There truly is nothing else for Bolt to prove. The generation of sprinters he beat while starting his run of dominance is now either retired or past their prime. The men he beat in Rio bear little resemblance to those he beat in Beijing and London. He has quite literally transcended generations.