LONDON — After an unforgettable performance in the 400-meter relay, Usain Bolt wanted a souvenir with which to remember his second Olympics. His grip tightened around his object of choice: the baton he had received from his training mate, Yohan Blake, and carried across the finish line in world-record time moments earlier.
The Jamaican team Bolt anchored had set a record of 36.84 seconds to edge the U.S. squad, which tied the Jamaicans' previous world mark of 37.04. Only after he had secured his sixth gold medal in two Olympics — three in each — did Bolt lose a piece of history he considered his.
An official asked for the baton, and Bolt grudgingly relinquished it. It was no way for a legend to exit the world's stage, and by the time the medal ceremony was held, Bolt had his baton back.
"He said I have to give it back or the relay would be disqualified," Bolt said. "That was kind of weird. I guess somebody talked to the guy and said you need to give him the baton."
In adding to his golds in the 100 and 200, Bolt helped Jamaica become the first country to successfully defend its men's sprint relay title since 1976.
The U.S. anchor, Ryan Bailey, ran well but could not keep pace with Bolt. "Bolt, he's an animal, he's a beast. … I just ran my heart out," Bailey said.
Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay ran the first three legs for the United States. Also getting a silver medal for running in the preliminary was former Gator Jeff Demps.
Canada finished third but was disqualified for a lane violation. That gave the bronze to Trinidad and Tobago.
Also running her heart out was Allyson Felix, on the second leg of the women's 1,600 relay. She ran 47.8 seconds and staked the United States to a 2-second lead on the way to its fifth consecutive gold in the event. Felix, DeeDee Trotter, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross were timed in 3 minutes, 16.87 seconds, good for a 3.36-second rout over Russia, the biggest margin in the final since East Germany beat the United States by 3.58 seconds in 1976.
"By the time I got the stick, it was basically a victory lap," said Richards-Ross, who won her second gold after taking the 400.
Brigetta Barrett took silver in the high jump, the first U.S. woman to medal since 1988. Russia's Mariya Savinova added the 800 title to her world title, and Caster Semenya of South Africa finished second.