LONDON — Toting his third gold medal of the London Games, Usain Bolt gave a little wave to 80,000 or so of his best friends in the Olympic Stadium stands.
Almost immediately, the questions started: What did that mean? Was Bolt bidding adieu for good? Will he be back? Will the world get to watch him sprint on his sport’s biggest stage again in 2016?
“It was a goodbye to London. I was just having fun with the crowd,” the Jamaican explained. “I came here to London to become a legend, and I am a legend, and I wanted to thank them for supporting me.”
He accomplished exactly what he wanted to at the 2012 Olympics.
Three events — the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 relay — and three victories. Plenty of pre- and postrace preening.
Just like at Beijing in 2008.
As for trying to go for a Triple Triple four years from now, Bolt insisted Rio de Janeiro isn’t necessarily in the offing.
“The possibility is there, but it’s going to be very hard. … I’ve done all I want to do,” said Bolt, who turns 26 on Aug. 21. “I’ve got no more goals.”
He came up with three remarkable runs, improving his career mark to 6 for 6 in Olympic finals.
In more than a century of modern Olympics, no man had set world records while winning the 100, 200 and 400 relay — until Bolt did it in Beijing.
None had won the 200 meters twice, let alone completed a 100-200 double twice — until Bolt did so in 2008 and 2012.
“It’s been so incredible watching him,” said U.S swimmer Missy Franklin. “There was one day when he walked into the dining hall and every athlete in there just started clapping and cheering and going crazy.”
Even those other athletes are among those curious about Bolt’s future. Maybe he’ll take up the long jump. Maybe the 400 (although he says that’s too much of a grind for his tastes).
“It’s very, very difficult to predict what’s going to happen in four years,” said Sanya Richards-Ross, who won gold medals in the 400 and the 1,600 relay for the United States. “For Usain, he’s just enjoying the moment and living in today. What he’s accomplished is enough. He’s done so much for our sport, and he’s definitely a living legend. Whatever he decides in the future is more than icing on the cake, if he decides to come back.”