London's Olympic Stadium was packed to the rafters on Saturday, August 5, as a 60,000-strong crowd was waiting to have a glimpse of Usain Bolt's 100m swansong.
The 30-year-old sprint legend had qualified for the final of IAAF World Championships 2017 with the second fastest timing of 9.98s in the semi-final. The stage was set for a perfect finish -- a fourth World Championships and a seventh world title in the 100m event.
Not many would have given a chance to Bolt if one were to consider his ordinary performances this season. However, given his ability to step up on the big stages, the sporting fraternity was optimistic of yet another magical run.
Ruthless London crowd
However, Bolt was beaten in his final 100m race. He was outclassed by his arch-rival and the man who was constantly booed by the London crowd throughout the first two days of the biennial world meet -- Justin Gatlin.
The former World and Olympic champion, who was banned twice for doping, with the latest being a reduced four-year suspension for testosterone in 2006, showed the world he is still capable of beating the best. With an unbelievable surge in the last 15m, Gatlin finished with a Gold medal-winning timing of 9.92s.
Young sprint sensation Christian Coleman recorded a timing of 9.94s to make to 1-2 finish for the United States, while Bolt won a Bronze with 9.95s.
Even after Gatlin raced past the finish line, the crowd did not stop booing him. The cameras were still focussing on Bolt and the London crowd were chanting "Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt" louder than ever.
However, Bolt showcased why he is the most loved athlete in the world when he went and embraced Gatlin after the latter dropped to his knees to bow down to the Jamaican legend.
It was a heartwarming gesture as Bolt congratulated the new 100m world champion despite having lost his first 100m race in four years and his last ever.
Gatlin, who was more relieved than excited after his historic win on Saturday, revealed Bolt had asked him not to be affected by the boos. He also said that the eight-time Olympic champion has always proved to be his inspiration.
"He [Bolt] said 'Congratulations! You have worked hard for this. You don't deserve all these boo's.' I thanked him for that and thanked him for inspiring me throughout my career. He is an amazing man," Gatlin told the BBC, right after his win in London.
"We're rivals on the the track but away from it and when we're not competing, we just have a good time and joke with each other," he added.
Gatlin had ruined Bolt's fairytale ending, but the American came up with one of the most exhilarating sprint performances in what was one of the tightly-contested 100m races. It was 12 years since his world title at Helsinki, but the 35-year-old had never given up despite the constant criticisms he has been facing.
Bolt, on the other hand, won only one race -- Diamond League in Monaco -- in the lead up to the world meet this season. He constantly struggled with poor starts in the ongoing competition. In the final, he once again struggled to get off the blocks quick -- his reaction time of 0.183s was the slowest among the eight finalists.