The story of Usain Bolt and 50 most telling photos from Rio 2016
Best photos to remember Rio Olympics 2016 by
The greatest show on Earth has come to a close. Not only had the greatest athletes from all over the world flocked to be part of Rio 2016, so had the greatest photographers in the world. Therefore, along with the myriad feelings evoked during the course of the titanic two and a half weeks, we also have some stunning photographs to remember these Olympic Games by.
If some photos tell a story to touch the heart, some others will be preserved for ages as proof of photographic excellence – like the one above, showing Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen competing in the Women’s Triple Jump final.
100m – Gatlin comes close 2nd behind Bolt
If there were any doubts as to whether Usain Bolt could replicate his dominant show from past editions of the Olympics, the 100 metre event would have been enough to put such doubts aside. He maintained a big lead over all other competitors in the heats and the semifinal.
The second photo of Bolt, which seems to show him grinning as he looks back on the field before crossing the finish line, has been dubbed as the most iconic photograph of Rio 2016. Getty photographer Cameron Spence is known to be in the running for the Pulitzer Prize for having captured this moment.
In the final of the 100 metre sprint, Bolt was up against his longtime nemesis, USA’s Justin Gatlin. True to billing, Gatlin was fastest off the blocks and was in the lead till about 70 metres, till the familiar sight of a yellow shirt coming from behind and taking the lead soured his night. Till almost the last second of the race, it had looked like Bolt would miss out on first place to Gatlin. Young Andre de Grasse of Canada took third place.
200m – Bolt shares a laugh with Canadian youngster
Next up for Bolt was the 200 metre sprint, his last ever Olympics event in an individual capacity. Gatlin was knocked out in the semifinal, but it was a moment from the other semifinal that was the highlight of this event. Bolt raced ahead, leaving the rest of the field behind from around the halfway mark, but Canadian De Grasse stuck to him, himself also sprinting ahead of the other competitors.
The 21-year-old Canadian, evidently marked out for greatness, almost pulled alongside Bolt, as the two of them shared a smile and even seemed to say something to each other before the finish line, as the other sprinters looked on in bemusement. At the finish line, Bolt pulled away, mock-reprimanding De Grasse with a wagging finger. Could this moment be remembered in years to come as the moment when the baton of greatness was passed on from the Jamaican juggernaut to this Canadian youngster?
4*100m relay – Despair for Gatlin’s USA overshadows Bolt’s last race
The last episode in the Usain Bolt saga at the Olympics was to be the 4*100 metre sprint relay, to also feature a final showdown with Gatlin and his American team. Bolt's swansong successfully gave Jamaica the gold medal, but the spotlight after the race was not on him. It was on the USA team, who were caught in the most pathetic of situations.
They had finished at third place, and were celebrating with flags draped around them. However, as they would come to realise, USA were disqualified because Gatlin had crossed the designated box before the baton had been passed to him. Midway in their victory lap, all the American team members seemed to notice this latest development on the scoreboard at the same time, reacting with shock and disbelief.
The spotlight had shifted from Bolt, despite it being his last race. As if by dramatic irony, it was completely focussed on the despair of Gatlin, the biggest rival in his career.
Phelps’ last swim
Rio 2016 was an emotional time for fans of Michael Phelps, the king of the pool for more than a decade. Despite some signs that Phelps would consider coming back from retirement for Tokyo 2020 too, Phelps himself brushed all such suggestions aside, stressing that these were to be his final appearance at the Olympics. Never known to show his emotions in public, there was a hint of tears as Phelps waved to the crowd one final time after his last race.
Like Bolt, Phelps was overshadowed as well at the end of his last ver Olympics event. In the 100 metre freestyle final, Phelps was tied 2nd with two other legends of the pool – Chad le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary. First place, however, belonged to Joseph Schooling of Singapore, the unlikeliest gold medalist.
Mo Farah falls down, gets up, wins 2 golds
If Usain Bolt is the undisputed champion of short distance running, his equivalent in medium distance running would be Great Britain’s Mohammed Farah. Also competing in his last Olympic Games, Farah came first in both his events – the 10,000 metre and the 5,000 metre races.
He was at last position for a good while during both these races, even taking a tumble after a collision with a competitor in the 10,000 metre final. He got back to his feet, later explaining that he had promised his daughter a gold medal and could hardly give up then. He clinched the 10,000 metre final by half a second. He repeated similar heroics in the 5,000 metre final, moving from last to first position from the 7th lap to the third last lap.
The characteristic celebration on the podium followed. What a Rio 2016 this was for the greatest of all times – Bolt, Phelps and Farah!