On August 5 the world almost stood still only to witness the penultimate race of the greatest athlete of all-time Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter ran the last race of his glittering career at the World Championships in London.
On August 5 the world almost stood still only to witness the penultimate race of the greatest athlete of all-time Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter ran the last race of his glittering career at the World Championships in London. People from across the world had waited with a baited breath only to see a gold medal around Bolt’s neck for one last time. But Justin Gatlin was there to spoil the party for many. The Lightning Bolt as the fans has nicknamed him could not have a fairytale ending to his career. He only managed to grab a bronze medal at the Championship. Gatlin, who has been banned for doping twice, scooped the gold medal while his countryman Christian Coleman won the silver and Bolt, eight-time Olympic champion and 11-time World champion, failed to end his superlative career on a high. Bolt after the race had said that he has ‘no regrets’of losing as the career would have ended regardless of a win, loss or draw. The eight-time Olympic champion is unlucky not to end his career at high but he is not the first one to have such an ending. Players from other sports have previously failed to perform at their best during the farewell.
Here are some of the sporting legends who suffered a heartbreak during their last show:-
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1) Jonty Rhodes
He is considered as one of the best fielder the cricketing world has ever seen. He was a test and ODI player for South Africa between 1992 and 2003 before really sad exit from the game. Rhodes announced that he will retire from ODI cricket after the Cricket WC 2003. However, during a practice match against Kenya, he got badly injured and got out of the tournament and hence the Cricket. While trying to catch Odumbe;s catch on point, he dived and landed on his hand. He had a severe fracture to the hand. South African medical staff suggested him 5-6 weeks of rest which effectively result into his omission from the tournament and subsequent tours. Arguably he was the best fieldsman that world cricket had. He holds a record of highest number of run outs by a fieldsman. He used to watch the batsman, anticipate where he would hit the ball and accordingly take the action.
2) Diego Maradona
He is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time along with Pele. He was the joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pele. Maradona was a classic number 10 and shattered the then world record transfer fee twice when he went to Barcelona for 5 million euros and then to Napoli for 6.9 million euros. Despite the success and beauty of Lionel Messi’s game, Maradona is still considered the greatest Argentinian footballer mainly because he led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup final against West Germany. Maradona also has to his credit an iconic ‘Hand of God’ goal and ‘The Goal of the Century’, his 66-yard dribble past five England players, which was voted so in 2002 by FIFA. Despite being such a successful footballer, Maradona had an ugly end to his playing days. In 1990, he was suspended after he tested positive for doping after a match between Napoli and Bari and then his career hit rock bottom when he was tested positive at the 1994 World Cup.
3) Muhammad Ali
He is acknowledged as one of the most celebrated sports figures from the 20th century. Not only as a boxer, Ali created an impact with his social stance as well. At a mere age of 22 in 1964, Ali won the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight title from Sonny Liston. Till today, he remains the only boxer to be the three-time lineal heavyweight champion, having won the title in 1964, 1974 and 1978. Despite being a champion on and off the ring, he could not have a powerful career ending. Ali who initially retired in 1979 came out of retirement and announced his comeback fight against Larry Holmes. It was around this time that Ali started facing vocal stutters and trembling hands. Holmes dominated Ali in such a ghastly manner that boxing writer Richie Giachetti called the fight “awful… the worst sports event I ever had to cover” and Ali lost the match by a knockout, his only knockout loss. Ali did not stop at that. Even after the Holmes fight, Ali fought one last time in 1981 against Trevor Berbick and lost a ten-round decision. Thus, a massively successful career ended in an immensely tragic manner.
4) Don Bradman
He is widely considered as the greatest batsman of all time with a Test average of 99.94. He made his Test debut as a 20-year old against England on November 30, 1928, and wrote the greatest chapter of cricketing history. In the 52 Tests that he played, he scored 6996 runs, 29 centuries, 13 fifties and 12 double hundreds. Bradman scored 19 centuries in Ashes Test, more than any other batsman but his last Ashes game, which was also his last game, ended tragically. In his last Test, against England at The Oval on August 14, 1948, the Australian great was just four runs away from averaging a 100 in Tests but got out for a duck, bowled out by Eric Hollies. ‘The Don’ could not have a perfect farewell to his great career.
5) Zinedine Zidane
He is one of the most decorated and gifted footballers in the history of the game. He is famous for his sharp tactics and passing skills. An attacking midfielder by trade, Zidane was the player responsible to help France win the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship two years later. He is also a three-time Ballon d’Or winner. Zidane had a beautiful career — one that is still looked at awe with — yet his final international game was about everything but his game. It was the final of the 2006 World Cup between France and Italy and the game was tense. The match was nearing the end of extra time and all hopes were rested on the duo of Zidane and Thierry Henry. Suddenly around the 110th minute mark, Zidane turned back at Marco Materazzi and headbutted him. As the crowd stood stunned, Zidane got sent off and his magical career ended with a red card.