MOSCOW, Russia — The Russian anthem was playing and the members of the winning women's 4x400m team were in tears after a massive upset over the Americans, but most of the attention was on Jamaica's Usain Bolt as he made his victory lap after his historic triumph in the men's 200m final on yesterday's penultimate day of the 14th IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Bolt ran a world leading 19.66 seconds out of lane four to win an unprecedented third straight men's 200m, and completed his second World Championships sprint double. It was also the first time an athlete was winning four medals in five finals in the event after winning silver in 2007 Osaka, Japan.
American Allyson Felix is the only other athlete to win three consecutive World Championships 200m world titles, striking gold between 2005 and 2009, while Maurice Green and Carl Lewis each won three consecutive 100m titles, while Michael Johnson won four 400m titles.
After Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's golden double it was also the first time that athletes from the same country were winning the sprint double at the same World Championships.
Jamaica just missed equalling the clean sweep of the men's 200m medals, as they did in the Olympics last year, as Warren Weir equalled his personal best 19.79 seconds for the silver, but Nickel Ashmeade just missed the bronze, placing fourth in 20.05 seconds, just 100th of a second behind Curtis Mitchell of the United States.
While Bolt and Weir celebrated with the largest turnout at the championships, Ashmeade, who was fifth two years ago, was a dejected man, slowly making his way through the media mixed zone, not stopping for interviews though pausing every so often, obviously disappointed to miss his first major medal.
With only the 4x100m relays to be contested on today's final day of the championships, Jamaica has now increased its tally to seven medals — four gold, two silver and a bronze — and will miss scoring in double figures for the second straight championships after winning nine medals two years ago in Daegu, South Korea.
Russia surged ahead yesterday with two gold medals to take the overall lead ahead of the United States in the medals table with seven gold to six.
Bolt's winning time yesterday was his 10th fastest and equalled the world record set in 1996 by Michael Johnson. He told reporters after the race he "felt great. I have worked hard all season to be the best and just happy to get it done, happy with the 200m as it's my favourite event."
Despite not being at full fitness, having missed some time during the season due to injuries, Bolt was good enough to stamp his class on the field.
"I knew it wasn't going to be a particularly fast time," he said. "I ran the corner pretty hard and came into the straight and started feeling tired and decided to look around, saw I was going to win and backed off."
The athlete, who turns 27 next week, said he is not worried that he is not winning by the huge margins any more, but that it does not mean that he is losing his edge. He explained that it is because he was not in top condition, though he is able to rise to the occasion when the time comes.
He welcomed the improved atmosphere in the stadium yesterday and said he was looking forward to an even better one today.
Weir, who took the bronze in London last year behind Bolt and Yohan Blake, described this medal as being "even sweeter". He said last year no one expected him to do anything until late in the game, but this time the expectations were there even before he arrived in Moscow and he was still able to deliver.
After placing second in his semi-final heat, Weir drew lane eight. "The goal was just to come out and run my own race, focus on myself and get the job done."
He said he is able to block out the pressure around him and just stick to the plan, but added that equalling his personal best at the championships told him that he will be in a much better condition later in the season than he was last year after the Olympics.