Usain Bolt brought the Commonwealth Games athletics to a fitting finale in Glasgow as he anchored Jamaica to 4x100m relay gold and then partied with the thrilled Hampden crowd.
Bolt took the baton for the final leg level with England’s Danny Talbot and, despite it being only his second competitive outing of the season, accelerated away in classic style as Talbot hung on for silver.
Trinidad and Tobago took bronze, but it was Bolt’s display that lit up a cold and wet stadium as he proved once again the great performer and showman of his era.
Individual 100m silver medallist Adam Gemili had given England a brilliant start – having been switched from the anchor leg he ran so well in the heats – and an impressive top bend from world indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty gave Talbot a chance, in theory at least, down the home straight.
But Bolt – who only began training six weeks ago after a serious knee injury – was never going to be upstaged, and he blasted away to cross the line five metres clear in a new Games record of 37.58 seconds.
England’s 38.02 secs represented a creditable performance given their poor record in getting the baton round, and bodes well for Great Britain’s hopes at this month’s European Championships.
Yet this was always going to be the Bolt show, even if that soubriquet seems unjust in a contest where his team-mates Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade played an equal part.
On an evening of torrential rain, the downpour relented just as Bolt strolled on to the track, although the athletic miracles he has produced down the years have been such that walking on water would have come as only a slight surprise.
over whether he had made disparaging comments about the Games – something he vehemently denies – the last two days have seen Bolt and the Glasgow crowds delight in each other’s company.
And despite the world record holder over 100m, 200m and sprint relay already owning six Olympic and eight World Championship golds, the addition of his first Commonwealth title clearly meant a great deal to him.
He told BBC Sport: “This completes my set – I’m happy. The people here are great, they’ve been so nice to me here and I want to thank them.”
Bolt had come on to the track before the race and danced ostentatiously as the Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), the constant soundtrack to these Commonwealths, once again blasted out.
And when the gold medal was secured he embarked on a lap of honour so prolonged that, after half an hour, he had still not reached his original starting point at the top of the home straight.
It was quintessential Bolt – not a high five left hanging, barely a selfie request left unfilled.
It is in these moments, almost as much as his extraordinary deeds on the track, that Bolt’s instinctive genius becomes apparent.
Where other athletes have to think about such things, the Jamaican both naturally understands what his legion of admirers want from him and revels in creating it.
At various times he donned a cardboard “Bolt mask” borrowed from a woman in the crowd, danced a jig in a tartan tam o’shanter and politely asked one over-enthusiastic man to step back so a young girl could have her photo taken with him unencumbered.
“I’m always here to have fun,” he said. “It was just wonderful, although this his new thing of selfies is taking up time.
“I came out here to do my best, and this is my first race back from injury so I’m very happy.”
England’s quartet were equally pleased with their performance.
Gemili said: “It was a great race. I just tried to give the team as much advantage as I could, and the rest of the guys smashed it.
“We tried to give ourselves as big a lead as we could, but Usain Bolt is Usain Bolt.”