Usain Bolt relay gold
Usain Bolt celebrates after anchoring Jamaica to the 4x100m relay gold at the Rio Olympics, Aug.19, 2016Reuters

It was level as Nickel Ashmeade gave the baton to Usain Bolt, with the title possibly going to any one of four teams, but once the great man had that baton in his hands and got into those large, ridiculously quick strides of his, it suddenly went from a close race into an absolute rout.

Usain Bolt bid goodbye to the Olympics in the perfect manner, leading Jamaica to the gold medal in the 4x100m relay, and with it ending his unbelievable Olympic career with nine gold medals.

It was not a world record time, but it was still pretty fast at 37.27s, easily ahead of Japan who ran a wonderful relay to take a surprise silver (37.60), which denied the USA, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and all. The Americans came in third in the race, but were later disqualified, giving Canada the bronze medal as a result.

The atmosphere was already at fever pitch after the US women's team beat out Jamaica for the women's 4x100m relay title, while the field events were throwing up a few brilliant battles as well, but when the athletes for the 4x100m men's relay walked out, it went up a few notches.

There was no playing around for Bolt in the starting line – he couldn't because he was running the anchor leg – but there were plenty of cheers, when Asafa Powell, the leadoff Jamaican, and Brazil were introduced.

Once that starter gun went, Powell got off to a good start as Jamaica took the early control, with the former world record holder then handing the baton over to Yohan Blake. The Americans seemed to catch up with the Jamaicans a little in that second leg as Gatlin ran a solid leg, with the relay becoming too close to call as the final leg came in.

The final exchange between Ashmeade and Bolt wasn't super smooth either, with the latter having to slow down a little in order to take the baton before crossing the line. But once he got into his stride, the ease with which he ran away from the rest of the field down the straight was a thing of beauty.

Aska Cambridge ran a brilliant final leg of his own to give Japan the silver, with Canada coming through in 37.64, after USA were disqualified for exchanging outside the box, in the opening one, when Mike Rodgers gave the baton to Gatlin.

USA Women's relay Rio Olympics
The US women pose in front of the time board after winning gold in the 4x100m relay, Aug.19, 2016Reuters

The US women, after being given a lifeline, despite failing to qualify from their heats, showed they belonged in the final, cruising home to take gold and defend their Olympic title. The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Torie Bowie ran a beautiful race, with solid exchanges, unlike in the heat, to run away from the rest of the field in 41.01s.

Jamaica, with Christania Williams, Elaine Thompson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, had to settle for silver, in a time of 41.36s. Great Britain broke a national record to take bronze in 41.77s.

Kenya took gold and silver in the women's 5000m, with Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot and Hellen Onsando Obiri catching up with 10,000m gold medallist Almaz Ayana and then crossing her to take the honours. Ayana of Ethiopia, who broke the world record with a wonderful run in the 10,000m earlier in the Rio Olympics, had to settle for bronze.

Greece's Ekaterini Stefanidi took gold in the women's pole vault with a clearance of 4.85, ahead of USA's Sandi Morris and Eliza McCartney of New Zealand.

The men's hammer throw title went to Tajikistan's Dilshod Nazarov (78.68m), while Ivan Tsikhan (77.79) of Belarus and Wojciech Nowicki (77.73) of Poland took silver and bronze respectively.

India had another disappointing day in track and field, with the women's team managing just a seventh place finish in their 4x400m relay heat. It was worse for the men, who were disqualified.

In the women's 20km race walk Khushbir Kaur came in at 54th, while Sapana Punia did not finish. Sandeep Kumar could only manage a 35th place finish in the men's 50km race walk.

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