MOSCOW, RUSSIA (AUGUST 18, 2013) (AMS/DENTSU/REUTERS) - Usain Bolt, already enshrined as one of the greatest Olympians of all time, became the most successful athlete in world championship history when he anchored Jamaica to victory in the 4x100 metres relay on Sunday (August 18).
Bolt followed up the 100 and 200m double with his third gold in the final event, taking his all-time tally to eight. That matches American trio Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix but the Jamaican moved ahead by virtue of his two silvers from 2007.
"You're going to the championships with a focus. I came here to win three gold medals," Bolt said. "That was my focus. I'm happy with myself and that's what I did. I came here, dominated, and now I'm leaving.
"For me, I'm just happy to be done with the world championships. I'm tired. My next race is Zurich, then Brussels, then I can go home, take a vacation and chill out, so I'm just happy that it's over, I can take a few days off and just look forward to going through the season injury free hopefully."
Though crowds throughout the first days of the competition were mostly poor, giving the Moscow championships an unusual eerie feel.
"It's been a different championships, it's not the best," Bolt said. "But I think over the days, I think it got better over the days. they've really changed a few things, a lot more people got a little bit more relaxed, a lot more people started smiling, there were much more people in the stands. So for me it really picked up in the end, but at the start it wasn't as good. So I'd love to say seven really (out of 10)."
Traditionally athletics programmes ended with the 4x400m relay but such is Bolt's worldwide selling power that recent events have been rejigged to ensure the Jamaican gets top billing.
Jamaica were pipped by Britain in the heats but the favourites drafted in Bolt and Nickel Ashmeade, while the U.S., unusually, used the same four in their evening heat as in the final.
Initially it seemed to be working in the Americans' favour as they led approaching the final bend but Rakieem Salaam's handover to Justin Gatlin left the individual 100m runner-up off balance. He clearly strayed into the Jamaicans' lead outside him but somehow escaped disqualification.
It made no difference to Bolt, who streaked clear to complete victory in 37.36 seconds, the sixth-fastest ever, with the U.S. in 37.66
When asked about the possible disqualification, Gatlin said: "We lost! Coming by a three point stance, I stumbled my toe and it put a little bit of distance between us and I lost anyway, so. I think we had good sticks going all the way round, we had good efforts."
Britain, another nation with a painful history of relay foul ups, crossed the line third but were disqualified for a late changeover. That promoted Canada on to the podium and somewhat made amends for the 2012 Olympics when they were disqualified after finishing third.
Bolt delighted the crowed with a celebratory Cossack dance, not easy for someone 6ft 5ins (1.95 metres) tall, before parading round the track with his three medals on show for 50,000 flashing cameras.
When asked about his impressions of Russia and whether they matched his expectations, he said he had not expected much in the first place.
"I had no thought really when I came here, I didn't know what to expect, so I just came here with an open mind to see what the country was all about," Bolt said. "I got here...Personally, they don't smile a lot, I must say, but they're cool people, I had no problems while I was here. Lot of women. A lot of beautiful women here. So I'll definitely tell my friends about that."
Russia topped the overall medal table with seven golds, though the Americans will promote themselves top under their counting system after finishing second on six but also gathering a mountain of 14 silvers in a total of 25.