After Usain Bolt beat arch-rival Justin Gatlin in the 200-meter final to win the 2015 World Athletics Championship sprint double, the apparently invincible athlete was knocked over accidentally by a bungling cameraman on a Segway as he did his victory lap at the Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium.
The 29-year-old Jamaican had beaten Gatlin in the 100m on Sunday before his 200m victory today in 19.55 seconds, the record this year.
As the cameramen came from behind videotaping the champion doing the victory lap, he lost control of the Segway after running over the edge of a metal railing. He stumbled onto the track and ran straight into Bolt from behind, knocking him over.
The world held its breath for a few seconds as the man with the fastest and most prized feet in sports took a tumble and landed heavily on his back.
Fans worldwide must have heaved a sigh of relief when Bolt somersaulted deftly and sprang on his feet. But millions held their breath once more when he paused momentarily to check his calf for injury.
He told reporters afterwards, “He tried to kill me!”
“He tried to kill me! I don’t know what he was going on. It was like: ‘You are winning too much – take him out!'”
And security guards also had to rescue the superstar athlete from a fan who ran towards him to snap a picture.
Bolt won the 200-meter final in 19.55 seconds, Justin Gatlin was second in 19.74 seconds, and South Africa’s Anaso Jobodwana third in 19.87 seconds.
He told the BBC News, “As you know, it means a lot to me. This is a big deal. I am happy to be a 10-time gold medalist. I just can’t explain. Hard work and dedication to the sport. Especially this season where a lot of people have been doubting me, saying that I would lose… I give God thanks for the experience I have had. It was a great experience.”
Gatlin later came over to congratulate Bolt. The two rivals shook hands and chatted briefly.
Later at the news conference, Bolt joked, “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him [the photographer who knocked him over] off.”
“I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job,” Gatlin responded.