LONDON -- The incomparable Usain Bolt added an exclamation point to the London Games on Saturday night with an explosive final leg in the 4x100-meter relay to lead Jamaica to a world-record victory over the United States.
As soon as Bolt blazed across the finish line with his third gold medal of the 2012 Summer Olympics, the fun was about to begin.
Holding the yellow baton tightly, Bolt put his arms over his head in a celebration known as the "Mobot," for Mo Farah, a double gold medal-winning distance runner. The biggest star in track and field then raced past an official who tried to wrest the baton from the sprinter.
The runner that complained about the stogy British and their rules finally relented.
"I have to give it back or the relay would be disqualified," he said after Jamaica won in 36.84 seconds. "That was kind of weird."
Cooler heads prevailed and Bolt got the memento back that he can share with teammates Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake.
It wouldn't be a night of Bolt without some theatrics. But for all the bombast, it is Bolt's running that is most inspired.
This time, he had plenty of help against a worthy U.S. team that bolted to the lead after two legs. When Blake caught Tyson Gay during the third leg, "I knew it was over," Bolt said.
Almost all of the 80,000 fans in Olympic Stadium agreed.
Now the question is whether they have seen the last of the great Jamaican sprinter. He didn't
"What else do I need to do?" he asked. "I've done everything possible in my events."
Bolt was part of a variety of historical markers after his latest exploits.
Such performances give the island's runners a sense of frivolity. Just listen to Blake.
"Basically, we are not human, we dropped from space like Mr. Bean," he said. "Mr. Bean is not a normal guy, he makes jokes. We are not normal guys. We are from space, I am from Mars."
Although Bolt made it look easy, the Americans pushed the winners to the finish line. The U.S. got the silver medal by equaling the previous world record of 37.04 seconds.
"I think that we went out there and put out a great show," said Justin Gatlin, who ran the second leg. "I think it shows that we are getting ourselves together."
But U.S. sprinters have a ways to go to catch their Caribbean neighbors. Jamaica broke the world record for the third time in the last four major events, including the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Bolt praised the U.S. sprinters for inspiring him and his teammates to greatness.
"Without the United States, Jamaica would be nobody," he said.
But he also said in a television interview that the Americans have a long ways to go to catch his countrymen. Upon hearing Bolt's sentiment, Gatlin dropped his head underneath a table laughing. Gay said American sprinters will rebound.
"We can't take anything away from them, but we can run 38.6 as well," he said.
Just not Saturday night. By the time U.S. anchor Ryan Bailey got the baton, it was just as Bolt had predicted: race over.
"I just remember getting the stick and running for my life," Bailey said.
He ran with precision -- as did the entire U.S. relay team. But as hard as Bailey's legs churned, Bolt increased the margin to the end.
Now Bolt has nothing left to do after buttressing his status as history's greatest sprinter.
"I have no goals," Bolt said. "I'm just a bum now."
A bum with golden feet.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/elliottalmond.