Four years ago, Canut Lawrence made himself a promise. A track and field enthusiast from Jamaica but living and working in Canada, he traveled to the Olympics in London and watched on in awe as Usain Bolt walked away with three gold medals for the second Games in a row.
Lawrence was inspired and swore he would follow the world’s fastest man to Brazil, where his compatriot would bid to complete a historic “triple-triple” of sprint titles at Rio 2016.
On a hot, humid night Friday, both men made good on their word.
As Bolt streaked across the finish line to a thunderous ovation in the men’s 4×100-meter relay, Lawrence rejoiced.
“He symbolizes pride, he really symbolizes what Jamaica is all about,” Lawrence told CNN. “Growing up in humble circumstances and rising above difficult situations.
“Jamaicans are extremely proud to see a boy of the soil, not somebody who was born into wealth. This is a young man who came from a very small district in Trelawny. To see what he has accomplished, it is phenomenal.
“Just to be here, to see history being made, I can’t tell you how that feels.”
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 20, 2016
While Lawrence was lost for words, Bolt summed it up perfectly.
“There you go,” he said. “I’m the greatest.”
Running the anchor leg, as he had done in the previous Games, Bolt surged away from the Japanese quartet who took a surprise silver medal.
Taking the baton from Nickel Ashmeade after Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake had made the early running, Bolt charged home to record a time of 37.27.
The USA was third across the line but was later disqualified for what appeared to be a handover violation, with Canada moving up to bronze medal position. The Americans appealed the decision and USA Track and Field tweeted early Saturday that it expected a decision in the morning.