A decade - 10 years of golden ­summers - after he won his first world championship medal, Usain Bolt brings the curtain down on the greatest career athletics has seen on Sunday morning (NZT).

By 9am, the sport will have entered the post-Bolt era - an era without the most marketable commodity athletics has ever had.

After his shock defeat by Justin Gatlin in the 100 metres last Saturday, those in power at the sport's governing body can be forgiven for willing the Jamaican to bow out in style with one last gold medal.

It is the good news story they crave.


Much will be out of Bolt's hands. The Jamaican 4x100m relay team have been almost unbeatable since he arrived on the big stage, winning gold at the past seven Olympics and world championships.

But there is a sense that the Bolt storyline may have one final twist in its tail in London, where the Caribbean island's sprinters have repeatedly failed to impress.

Both Bolt and fellow double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson were dethroned in the 100 metres, while Jamaica did not have a single representative in the men's 200 metres final.

For the first time, there will be a real sense of fallibility about Bolt and his team-mates, when they line up for the 4x100m final ... assuming they avoid any slip-ups in the heats.

For Danny Talbot, who forms part of Britain's sprint relay team, it is a final chance to get one over on the Jamaican superstar.

"The first time I raced him was in 2013 and it was wicked," recalled Talbot. "The only way I can describe it is if you are in year seven and you are racing a sixth former.

"He was so big, it felt like there was nothing you could do.

"The first time, it was intimidating and hard to focus on your race. I remember thinking 'this is Bolt - the guy I want to be like'.

"Then, after a couple of times of being behind, you think 'I do want to win'.

"We are going there to win it. You can only have potential for so long and we have a great group of sprinters now.

"We do have to start winning or being very competitive for medals. You saw the girls in Rio get a bronze medal.

"It's time for the men to step up too now. We have the belief we can win gold."

If Talbot and his British team-mates are to achieve their goal, they will have to sink Bolt, just like Gatlin did last weekend.

Can lightning really strike twice?