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Bolt Stripped of ‘Triple Triple’ Title: Is His Legacy Tarnished?

After Usain Bolt was stripped of Olympic Gold, we explore an important lesson about the company we keep.

29th Jan 2017

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Usain Bolt lost the gold medal he won in the 4 x 100 metre relay in the 2008 Beijing Olympics because his team mate Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance taken for the race.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics Usain Bolt achieved an unprecedented ‘triple triple’ gold medal streak. However, this achievement that Bolt so rightly deserves has been stripped from him because of his team mates actions.

Nesta Carter ran the first leg of the 4 x 100 metre relay in 2008 with his team mates Bolt, Michael Faster and Asafa Powell, shooting Jamaica to the top of the podium with a time of 37.10 seconds. In this race Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago, Japan and Brazil to Gold, but after this revelation they are in line to have their medals elevated.

As a proud British Afro Caribbean man of Jamaican descent. I am extremely proud of Bolt and everything that he has done for Jamaica. Jamaica is a small island of 2.751 million people, with increasing socio-economic problems that have constricted the country for so long. Yet, Bolt with his lightning speed has become a symbol of hope for Jamaican people living all over the world. Bolt once again has contributed to putting our island on the map. Bolt has proven to anyone that it doesn’t matter what socioeconomic background you come from, where you come from or your access to opportunities. With raw talent, determination, hard work and finally self-belief you can achieve success.

Like many other people worldwide I am extremely disappointed by this revelation. Not only because Carters actions have once again cast a shadow of doubt around the fairness of sporting competitions, but the fact that Bolt has been impeded because of the selfish actions of his comrade. However, in respect to principle, I agree with the verdict to strip Bolt of his medal. Although it is not his fault. Although Bolt does not deserve to lose a title that he has worked so hard for. His team were given an advantage in that race, that prevented other people, who worked just as hard, and wanted that gold medal just as much to achieve their dream. Maybe if Carter hadn’t have taken that substance, Jamaica may still have won that race. We will never know. Nonetheless, the taking of illegal substances in sports has to be punished to ensure that the values of sportsmanship of friendship, respect and sporting excellence are maintained.

Bolt was gracious when asked to comment about his teammate Nesta Carter. He said: "I'm not going to despise anybody for anything. "Nesta and I are still friends. We came up through the ranks in high school, so we're still friends, and I really don't have a problem with Nesta.’ It takes an incredible amount of courage to put this behind him and despite his disappointment to show such grace and forgiveness. The manner of the situation is even more painful for Usain considering Bolt was stripped of his title retrospectively for decisions his team mate made over nine years ago now. However, this situation does highlight an important life lesson, the company you keep, even if it’s strictly not by your choice can lead to your downfall. Bolt and Carter had known each other since high school but there was no way Bolt would have known all those years ago that Carter would be the reason why he’d be denied this special moment in history that is the coveted ‘triple triple’ Olympic Gold. They were team mates, they were meant to be on each other’s side, making their country proud and supporting one and other but all of that has been taken away because of selfish decisions.

To answer the question, does Bolt losing his title affect his legacy? The answer to this is no. Bolt has not just been able to inspire the hearts and minds of his fellow Jamaicans. He has captured the world with his striking speed and his contagious charisma. Bolt has accomplished feats that athletes could only dream of in their lifetimes. For all of us, Bolt will remain a unique figure in history that we will continue to remember and revere. Despite the loss of one of his medals, Bolt will always be the lightning rod that captivated the world with his ‘To di World’ celebration.

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