By Michael Hann
GLASGOW (Reuters) - Six-times Olympic champion Usain Bolt stole the show to give the Commonwealth Games the moment it had been waiting for by leading Jamaica to gold in the 4x100 meters relay on Saturday.
After weeks of build-up, anticipation and controversy, eight-times world champion Bolt delighted the Hampden Park crowd as he raced down the home straight to give Jamaica victory in a Games record time of 37.58 seconds.
In doing so the towering sprinter also claimed the first Commonwealth medal of his illustrious career.
“I’m happy for the fans and I’m happy to get my Commonwealth gold medal,” Bolt told reporters. “It (the Commonwealth Games) was always on my to-do list.
“I always wanted to go to the Commonwealths. I wanted to run an individual event here but I got injured so I decided to run the 4x100.”
Having been the shining light in a Games where big names have been few and far between, the Jamaican dealt with the weight of expectation in his usual charismatic manner.
After anchoring the Jamaica team of Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade to victory on a puddle-strewn track, Bolt charmed the crowd by performing his ‘lightning bolt’ celebration, posing for selfies and donning a tartan hat.
“Other than the weather it’s been brilliant,” Bolt said of Glasgow. “It felt like any other championship. I got to watch a lot more sports and see a lot more athletes competing.
“It’s always great to have fun with the fans. They made the Games what it was. They are so warm, even when I was cold they were always warm.
“I want to say that this new thing about selfies, they are really making these laps of honor really, really long,” he joked.
Jamaica picked up further gold medals on the final day of athletics as Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce anchored the women's 4x100 team to victory, while Stephanie McPherson, who won the 400 gold on Tuesday, helped the Jamaicans clinch the 4x400 relay title.
Kenya also left Hampden with three golds as James Kiplagat Magut made a late surge to win the men’s 1,500, while Mercy Cherono claimed the women’s 5,000 and Julius Kiplagat Yego threw 83.87 meters in tricky conditions to scoop the men’s javelin.
Matthew Hudson-Smith anchored England to gold in a thrilling men’s 4x400 final while Australia’s Alana Boyd cleared 4.50 in the women’s pole vault to retain her title.
South Africa’s Khotso Mokoena won the men’s triple jump.
Eleven days of sporting action in Glasgow comes to an end on Sunday when the closing ceremony is held at Hampden Park.
(Reporting by Michael Hann; editing by Ken Ferris)