LONDON -- This was one for the ages, a record-breaking performance so dominating it electrified everyone who saw it in person at Olympic Stadium, who watched on television around the world and who will watch it in the days and years to come. Usain Bolt is a once-in-history athlete. On Saturday night, in the final event of the track meet, in what may have been his final Olympic race -- or may not, depending on his health and any number of variables -- he unleashed raw, primal speed. It was at once fearsome and exhilarating.
Bolt and American Ryan Bailey, each man running the anchor leg in the men's 4x100 relay, got his baton at roughly the same time, in the lane next to the other. The race was on. But only for an instant. Bolt separated himself, with every step widening the gap, the crowd roaring with the roar of an airplane on takeoff as he hammered toward the finish line.
When Bolt crossed, the clock stopped but the noise did not: 36.84 seconds, a new world record.
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