Usain Bolt: "There you go... I'm the greatest"
"I hope I've set the bar high enough that no one can do it again," said the Jamaican sprint great, who completed his 'triple triple' in Rio with relay gold.
Usain Bolt completed his hat-trick of sprint golds at the Rio Olympics, cementing his place as the finest speed merchant of all time after Jamaica secured victory in the 4x100m relay and Bolt picked up his ninth Olympic gold medal.
Bolt bade farewell to the Olympics by powering to a record third straight sweep of the sprint medals and a final chance to declare himself "the greatest."
No one had the power on the track or the courage off it to contradict the 29-year-old whose blistering run gave Jamaica victory in the 4x100m relay.
The track drama Friday and the prospect of a Brazil football final on Saturday almost overcame the shame felt by many Olympians after star swimmer Ryan Lochte had to apologise for inventing a story that he had been mugged in Rio.
Victory was not guaranteed when Bolt took the baton for the anchor leg, but he powered down the straight to cross in 37.27sec before soaking up the acclaim from an adoring crowd. A surprise Japan quartet came second, followed by the United States, who were disqualified to give Canada bronze.
Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi
A third straight 100m, 200m and 4x100m clean sweep put Bolt alongside Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi on nine track and field Olympic golds.
Bolt, who said at the start of the week that he would be an "immortal" if he claimed the 'triple triple,' had no doubt that he deserves more acclaim.
"There you go. I'm the greatest," said the Jamaican, who kissed the finish line as he played to the crowd and the cameras.
And how did he achieve greatness? "Dedication. I wanted it the most. I was never satisfied."
"I hope I've set the bar high enough that no one can do it again," said Bolt whose departure is a second blow to the Olympics after the retirement of swimming legend Michael Phelps with his 23 career golds.
Bolt has previously said he would like to be remembered in his sport with the same reverence as Muhammad Ali and Pelé in theirs.