In one utterly frustrating news for the iconic Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt, he has lost one of his nine Olympic gold medals. On January 2017, the International Olympic Committee stripped Jamaica of their 4x100m relay win at the 2008 Beijing Games, because they found Bolt’s teammate Nesta Carter guilty of doping violations. A few months before 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Bolt knew about Carter’s pending case at the IOC and he had sounded philosophical at the prospect of losing the Beijing relay gold, if the Olympic Committee’s decision went against Carter. However at that point, Bolt was completely focused on his Olympic preparations, and as it transpired, the world’s fastest man came away from Brazil with another triplet of golds. Bolt’s triple-triple made international sports headlines soon after the Rio Games but the situation has changed with IOC’s latest pronouncement on Nesta Carter. Usain Bolt’s Olympic medal count came down to 8 even as he was sleeping after a training session on the fateful January day.
It wasn’t quite like a bolt-from-blue for the Jamaican Usain Bolt, when he heard about the IOC’s decision of disqualifying his 4×100 relay teammate Nesta Carter from the event at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Bolt had the inkling of such a possibility in June 2016 but he nonchalantly carried on with his training for the Rio Games. The 31-year old Carter was qualified after another analysis of his urine samples reaffirmed the presence of the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine. IOC decided on January 25 that the Jamaica’s 4×100 meters relay winning team must give back their Beijing Olympic gold medals. Carter’s lawyer, Stuart Stimpson, said the athlete would lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but going by the results of such appeals in the past, Carter’s chances of coming clean look bleak.
Carter is a long-standing first-leg specialist of the dominant Jamaican 4×100 relay team and his performance has helped the Caribbean nation in winning gold medals at 2008 and 2012 Olympics and 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships. Jamaica’s world and Olympic record time of 36.84 seconds at London remains unbroken to date.
Nesta Carter’s disqualification on doping violations has directly affected Usain Bolt’s achievement at world stage. Considered as the greatest sprinter of all time, Bolt won the historically unprecedented triple of consecutive gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4×100 relay at 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games. Besides being branded as the fastest man on the planet, Bolt is singularly responsible in motivating other Jamaican athletes, who have left other world athletes way behind in track-and-field. Besides, Bolt has been a key factor in sustaining global interest in athletics at a time when track-and-field events have been marred by doping scandals. Bolt had been sleeping after a training session, when the news broke but next day, he told Reuters that IOC’s decision was heartbreaking because of all the hard work that went into accumulating those gold medals.
The Carter case has taken the shine off Bolt’s spectacular achievement. Eight doesn’t have the sound as the triple-triple. They will now call it a double- treble plus two. It is frustrating that Bolt can account for himself but in team events, he has no control on his partners’ actions. Bolt’s reputation will remain undamaged but the color of his achievements will fade in spite of himself. He won’t be a happy man surrendering the Beijing Gold.