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August 19, 2013

Bolt closes world championships with third gold medal

MOSCOW — Usain Bolt stumbled on the track, even almost fell down.

Don’t worry, everybody, it wasn’t in the race.

No, this near-tumble happened in the middle of his celebratory dance, when a barefooted Bolt hammed it up after winning a third gold medal on the last day of the world championships.

He even tossed his spikes into the crowd.

And why not? He certainly didn’t need them anymore. His work was finished.

In the very last race of the championships Sunday, Bolt grabbed the gold-colored baton for his anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay and churned toward the finish line, huffing and puffing to generate more speed.

Not that he needed it.

Justin Gatlin couldn’t catch him. The rest of the field couldn’t catch him, either. Very few can catch him — he’s simply in a class by himself.

“For me, my aim is to continue hard (toward) the greatness thing,” said Bolt, whose team finished in a world-leading time of 37.36 seconds. “Continue dominating.”

Oh, he did that all right, winning gold in the 100, gold in the 200 and even more gold in the relay. With that, Bolt became the most decorated athlete in world championship history with eight golds and two silvers, moving past Carl Lewis (8 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and Michael Johnson (8 golds).

“It’s not just about the talent, it’s about rising to the occasion. He understands what that means,” said Gatlin, who anchored the U.S. to a silver medal despite momentarily stepping outside his lane. “That takes you up another level. To be able to rise to the occasion when an entire stadium full of people are either rooting for you or want to see you fail and you’re able to hold it together, that takes talent.”

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