By Ben Bloom

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 this morning (New Zealand time).

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 100m last Sunday, 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 his fellow double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson were dethroned in the 100m, while Jamaica did not have a single representative in the men's 200m final.

For the first time, there will be a real sense of fallibility about Bolt and his teammates when they line up for the 4x100m final this morning - 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," said Talbot. "The only way I can describe it is if you are in Year7 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 [British] 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 teammates are to achieve their goal, they will have to sink Bolt just like Gatlin did last weekend.

Can lightning really strike twice?