As fairytale endings go, this was one that certainly forgot to follow the script. For Usain Bolt, these World Championships had been touted as his farewell party; a chance for the eight-time Olympian to sign off his illustrious career in style. But much to the horror of the Jamaican’s adoring masses, this was a send-off that ended with red wine on the carpet, smashed plates on the floor and thousands of pounds worth in damages.
Enter culprit No 1: Justin Gatlin. Living up to his villainous billing all too literally, the American gatecrashed the main event with a degree of impertinence that left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.
With a single, admonishing finger raised to his lips, having just run the race of his life to claim a third world title and leave Bolt ruminating with bronze, the 35-year-old made a mockery of the sporting narrative that insists virtue and honesty will always triumph over the dark arts.
Edging to victory by the smallest of margins last weekend – 0.03 seconds to be precise – Gatlin momentarily reduced a deafening wall of noise to a stunned, stomach-turning silence as the home crowd registered what they had just witnessed.
Up next on the interloper line-up: Great Britain’s very own men’s relay team. Positioned in the outer lanes at the London Stadium on Saturday night, as Gatlin had been, it was now the turn of the hosts to rip up the script.
Putting together a well-executed combination of changeovers and sprints, GB stormed to victory in 37.47 seconds to claim the nation’s first major gold since Athens 2004. It was a victory the British quartet earned and deserved – and not one borne out by the shortcomings of their rivals.
Britain’s relay team deserve their success (Getty)
In contract to the hostile reception it had put on for Gatlin seven days prior, the London crowd embraced its homegrown heroes with a frenzied, gold-induced euphoria.
As Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake roared with delight after confirmation of…