The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, came out of retirement for one day only on Tuesday to race the 800m at his home track in Jamaica. This was his first crack at the distance, but instead of racing another athlete, he was going up against a CarMax customer who was getting an instant online offer for a vehicle on her phone while Bolt ran around the track. It was CarMax who came out victorious, beating Bolt by about three seconds.
At the start of the race, Bolt appeared to be taking it easy, almost trotting around the track and cruising through the 400m in about 74 seconds. Many assumed he would hit the gas in the last lap, or at least the last 200 metres, but to his fans’ disappointment, he maintained his easy gait for the entire race. While the live feed from his Facebook page did not show a clock, we clocked his unofficial finishing time at 2:40, three seconds behind the CarMax customer, who got her instant offer in 2:37.
Ahead of the race, Bolt said his fastest time over 800m during training was 2:05 and claimed that with spikes on, he could dip under two minutes. Based on that information, his fans had high expectations going into the race, but they did not get the result they hoped for.
In a post-race interview, a breathless Bolt congratulated his opponent and insisted that he was not planning a comeback, and was certainly not planning on taking up the 800m. Given that the 800m men’s world record is a full minute faster than Bolt’s performance (1:40.91 by David Rudisha in 2012), we don’t blame him.