BRUSSELS (AP) — Usain Bolt closed out the season Friday with another win in the 100 meters, finishing in 9.80 seconds in the Memorial Van Damme.
The time, sluggish by his stellar, world-record standards, confirmed what Bolt himself acknowledges: 2013 hasn’t been a vintage year for the world and Olympic champion.
The 27-year-old Jamaican said he is now looking forward to some rest and recreation, family time and soccer matches with friends, before deciding on his goals for 2014, a season with no major championships.
“I’ve been smiling ever since I got to the stadium, because I know it’s the last one,” Bolt said about his final race of the year.
This year, Bolt’s fastest time was 9.77, which he ran in winning the world championships in August. That was still the Jamaican’s slowest season best-time since 2010, when his fastest was 9.82.
Over 200 meters, Bolt’s best was 19.66, again when collecting gold in Moscow. That makes 2013 his slowest season over that distance since 2007, when his best time was 19.75.
Still, with three golds from Moscow, including a 400 relay win with Jamaica, 2013 still goes down as the year he became the most decorated athlete in world championship history with a total now of eight gold and two silvers. He also has six gold medals from the Olympics.
Bolt was unhappy with his start in the Diamond League meet on Friday night, but still powered past the field down the straight to win comfortably.
Michael Rodgers of the United States was second in 9.90, a season’s best for him.
Nesta Carter, bronze medalist at the worlds, was third in 9.94.
Justin Gatlin, the world silver medalist, got a quick start but couldn’t stay with Bolt, running to his left in the fifth lane. Gatlin faded to fourth in 9.94. The American was the only sprinter to beat Bolt in the 100 in 2013, besting the Jamaican by a hundredth of a second in Rome in June.
Taking it up another notch from his world championship win, Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia ran by far the quickest 800 of 2013, a blistering 1 minute, 42.37 seconds, becoming the only runner to go under 1:43 this year.
In the 200, Warren Weir held off fellow Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade to win in 19.87. Weir took silver behind Bolt in Moscow. Ashmeade finished in 19.93, his best for 2013. Walter Dix of the United States also ran a season best of 20.12 to finish third.
Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce powered out of the blocks for another untroubled win in the women’s 100.
Her time of 10.72, a meet record, was just shy of her best for 2013, the world-leading time of 10.71 she ran in Moscow, where she collected three golds, in the 100, 200 and 400 relay with Jamaica.
In the 400 hurdles, world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago surged down the straight to beat Omar Cisneros of Cuba.
Olympic and world champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia was the comfortable winner of the women’s discus. Her first throw of 219 feet, 11 inches to beat Gia Lewis-Smallwood of the United States (212-8). Ryan Whiting of the United States, the season’s top performer and silver medalist at the world championships, won the shot put at 70-4 1/2.