Daegu: Even when he loses, Usain Bolt captivates the world, as he proved at the just-completed world championships.
Bolt anchored the Jamaican team to a 4x100-meter relay world record with yet another trademark loping dash down the finishing straight on Sunday.
That followed his earlier gold-medal winning performance in the 200 meters.
Yet he got most attention for the event he didn`t win: being disqualified from the 100 meters for a false start.
That can be no better billboard for next year`s London Olympics than the Jamaican with an ego to match his ability, and Bolt was eager for 2012 to roll around.
"I`m looking forward to the Olympics, definitely," Bolt said.
And given Michael Phelps — that other gold-bedecked symbol of the 2008 Beijing Olympics — had a less than stellar swimming world championships in Shanghai last month, momentum is with Bolt to become the star of the games.
Especially after he showed himself to be human and fallible by false starting the 100-meter final on the opening weekend of the championships. It was the biggest setback in a career that had yielded six straight Olympic and world championship gold medals.
He fought back with the fourth-fastest 200 in history to defend his title on Saturday and did one better on Sunday, anchoring the Jamaican sprint relay team to the only world record of the championships in the very last race.
That`s Usain Bolt. Win or lose, there is no way around him.
"It just ended the championship very well," Bolt said. "I`m very happy with myself, to know that I started on a bad note and ended on a good one."
Ending up with only a two gold medals might even make him more hell-bent to equal his sprint triple of Beijing in London.
He goes into the winter with only a slight Achilles tendon tweak, which kept him from running the bends of the relay, but nothing like the back problems which saw him lose part of last season and forced him to lower expectations for this year.
Even when Bolt was out, the Jamaicans were hot in the sprint events. Teammate Yohan Blake stepped up in the absence of the disqualified Bolt and won the marquee 100. Both ended up with two gold medals.
Despite being wiped out by the Jamaicans in the men`s sprint events, the Americans had sterling championships with the total of 25 medals matching their second highest performance in the 28-year history of the event.
Their dozen gold medals was also top of the heap. With 100 champion and relay anchor Carmelita Jeter and two-time relay winner Allyson Felix, they also had their double gold medalists.
Russia led their overwhelming domination of the walk events into second place in the medals table, with nine gold and 19 medals overall. Six of those, including three gold, came from the walk alone.
Kenya has long thrived in the middle and long-distance races, and never more effectively that this year, winning 17 medals overall and seven gold as it totally dominated neighbouring Ethiopia.
"Kenyans were running well and that gives me a lot of motivation for the next races," men`s marathon champion Abel Kirui said.
A world record does the same to Bolt.
"We reminded ourselves," Bolt said, "about the Olympics." and after Sunday`s event-capping gold, Bolt said he is "looking forward to the Olympics, definitely."