Usain Bolt always lights up the track but in regaining his 100 metres world title yesterday he was also a fireman, putting out the flames that have been threatening to consume the sport in recent weeks. It is not the first time the 26-year-old Jamaican superstar has come to athletics rescue.His record-breaking exploits at the Beijing Olympics, which saw him win three gold and break the 100m world record, served to divert attention away from the drug scandal involving the sport’s one-time poster girl Marion Jones and her ex-boyfriend and former 100m world record-holder Tim Montgomery.
Indeed at the time he was winning his three gold medals she was serving a six month jail sentence for perjury over the scandal.
He also restored lustre to the title of Olympic 100m champion when predecessor Justin Gatlin was unable to defend his title as he was serving an initial eight-year doping ban — which was reduced to four.
Those two worlds — the good and the bad — collided on Sunday as Bolt overcame 31-year-old Gatlin, who returned to competition when his ban ended in 2010, to take the gold. Then the two appeared to bury the hatchet — Bolt had in a rare moment of irritation described the American as “annoying” earlier this season — as Gatlin hugged him and graciously shook his hand.
Gatlin has served his time but defeating Bolt would not have been the script the organisers and sport authorities would have liked for there were other ghosts for the track star to lay to rest. — AFP.
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