LONDON -- Be it a gold medal or a souvenir from a record relay run, Usain Bolt always gets what he wants at the Olympics.
The Jamaican will leave London a perfect 3 for 3 -- three events, three victories -- just the way he departed Beijing four years ago.
Almost even with the last U.S. runner when he got the baton for the anchor leg of the 4x100 meters, Bolt steadily pulled away down the stretch, gritting his teeth and leaning at the line to cap his perfect Summer Games by leading Jamaica to the title in a world-record 36.84 seconds Saturday night.
After crossing the line, Bolt pleaded with an official to let him keep the yellow baton he was clutching. But the answer was "No," and Bolt handed it over while some nearby spectators booed. About 40 minutes later, that same official approached Bolt and returned the stick. Bolt responded with a bow of thanks and a chuckle, kissed the baton -- and then asked his teammates to autograph it.
One more possession to help him remember his week at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, where any mention of Bolt's name drew raucous cheers, countless camera flashes and chants of "Usain!" or "We want Bolt!"
"It's amazing. It's been wonderful," Bolt said in an interview shown on the scoreboard.
Addressing the spectators, he said: "You guys are wonderful. Thanks for the support. I love you guys."
Bolt added the relay gold to the ones he earned in the 100 in 9.63 seconds last Sunday -- the second-fastest time in history -- and the 200 in 19.32 Thursday. The runner-up in both individual sprints, Bolt's pal and training partner, Yohan Blake, ran the third leg of the relay, following Nesta Carter and Michael Frater.
The U.S. quartet of Trell Kimmons, 100 bronze medalist Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey got the silver in 37.04, equaling the old record that Bolt helped set last year at the world championships. Trinidad & Tobago took the bronze in 38.12. Canada, third across the line, was disqualified for running outside its lane, and its appeal was rejected.
As Blake and Gay rounded the final curve, they were pretty much in sync, stride for stride.
But. when that duo was done, the relay came down to Bolt vs. Bailey, who was fifth in the 100 meters in 9.88. It was not a fair matchup.
After transferring the baton from his left hand to his right, the 6-foot-5 Bolt churned up the track with his long-as-can-be strides, and Bailey had no chance to keep up.
British runner Mo Farah also added a gold to his personal collection .
He won the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 41.66 seconds a week after his win in the 10,000.
The U.S. took the other relay gold with a win in the 4x400. Allyson Felix collected her third gold medal after those in the women's 200 and the 4x100 relay.
She became the first American woman with three track golds at one Olympics since 1988, when Florence Griffith-Joyner won the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay.
The United States finished in 3 minutes, 16.87 seconds -- good for a 3.36-second rout against Russia, the biggest margin in the final of the long relay at the Olympics since East Germany beat the U.S. by 3.58 seconds in '76.
Jamaica took third in 3:20.95.
The U.S. extended its winning streak in this race to five, dating to '96.
Handed about a 10-meter lead by teammate DeeDee Trotter, Felix ran the second leg and put a huge swath of track between her and the Russians.
Francena McCorory expanded the lead by another .49 seconds, then delivered it to Sanya Richards-Ross, who basically was running alone as she breezed across the finish line.
When it was over, Richards-Ross tucked the stick under her arm and started clapping. Felix, Trotter and McCorory came over and the group embraced.
"It's unbelievable," Felix said.
"I think about how I ended in Beijing, just feeling discouraged there. Four years later to have all this happen, to really accomplish every goal that I set out, is such a blessing."
First Published August 12, 2012 4:00 AM