Usain Bolt anchors Jamaicans to victory in London
LONDON (AP) — Usain Bolt sprinted to a second Diamond League victory inside 24 hours in London on Saturday in what could be his last race in England.
Exactly a year after the start of the 2012 Summer Games, Bolt anchored a Jamaican relay team to victory in the Olympic Stadium at the London leg of the Diamond League — this year also called the Anniversary Games.
The Racers Track Club finished the 4x100 race in 37.74 seconds, a day after Bolt’s victory in the individual sprint in the London stadium where he swept three gold medals last year.
“We haven’t run a lot of relays together, but just being around each other we can understand each other and know how fast we are personally so it worked out very well,” Bolt said.
The 26-year-old Bolt led home teammates Mario Forsythe, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Warren Weir ahead of France and Canada.
“I’m the team leader and I try to keep them focused and give them wisdom,” Bolt said.
About 60,000 fans packed into the Olympic Stadium which temporarily reopened to host the Diamond League meet before closing again to be revamped into a multi-sport stadium, which will be used by Premier League team West Ham from the 2016-17 season.
“It is always beautiful and always wonderful in London, I really enjoy it here,” Bolt said. “It is just an extremely great stadium and I am happy.”
Bolt isn’t happy, though, with the country’s tax laws.
He only returned to London to compete because the British government agreed to an amnesty that allowed international athletes to compete tax-free at this meet as they did at the Olympics. Taxes are usually imposed on appearance fees and prize money for nonresident athletes in all sports when in action here.
Bolt said returning here to race “depends on what the tax laws say, if they say it’s OK I will be here next year.”
A tax exemption is in place for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, but Bolt is not committing to competing in the Scottish city.
And the government does not appear willing to waive its tax rules whenever it suits Bolt.
“You have to be a little bit careful about this,” Sports Minister Hugh Robertson told The Associated Press. “We have a very straight forward modus operandi with the Treasury whereby whenever we need a tax break for a particular event we make the case, they look at it and they have been very good at granting it as they were for Usain Bolt.
“You have to just realize, though, that all these decisions are taken against the backdrop of the national economy and giving and giving tax breaks to wealthy sports stars when the economy is in the state it is at the moment is something that needs careful decision on a case-by-case basis.”
Mo Farah also made a winning return to the Olympic Stadium, treating the home crowd to a dominant victory in the 3,000.
The Briton produced a devastating final lap, storming in front with around 500 to go to win in 7 minutes, 36.85 seconds — more than five seconds ahead of Ryan Hill of the United States.
“It’s great to be back,” said Farah, who won the 5,000 and 10,000 double at the Olympics. “It was a good race and the crowd were great ... I wanted to make them proud.”
Other Olympic champions also replicated their success in London.
Sally Pearson won the 100 hurdles in 12.65, around a tenth of a second ahead of Tiffany Porter of Britain. It was a disappointing day for another Briton, however, as Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill finishing fourth in the race as she returned from injury.
Pearson has been struggling with hamstring problems this season, but looks to be finding her form ahead of the world championships in Moscow.
“Everyone told me to be patient and believe in myself and that’s what I’ve done,” she said. “It’s three weeks yesterday to my race at the world championships so it’s finally coming together. My form is slowly coming back ... there are a lot of parts of the race I can fix.”
The 110 hurdles was won by David Oliver, the American who failed to qualify for the Olympics last year.
Olympic champion Aries Merritt clipped a hurdle and went out.
“I’m fine, I think I ran too close to the hurdle and hit it with my trail leg — I was trying to run too fast,” the American said. “Next time in Moscow, I won’t press as much in order to run well.”
In the pole vault, Renaud Lavillenie achieved a world-leading 6.02 meters, but failed three times to overhaul Sergei Bubka’s world record of 6.14 that has stood since 1994.
In the shot pot, Valerie Adams was crowned a winner while still in the Olympic Stadium this time by throwing 20.90 meters. The New Zealander belatedly won Olympic gold after the London event when Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus was disqualified for doping.