Sprint legend Usain Bolt chasing an unprecendented triple-triple, set for Olympic farewell
He stands to equal Carl Lewis and Finn Paavo Nurmi`s record of nine athletics gold medals.
Rio de Janeiro: Usain Bolt will aim to sign off with the ultimate final flourish by sealing an unprecedented `triple triple` on his Olympic farewell in Rio on Friday.
The sprint sensation will bow out of the Olympics, an arena he has made his own, with all eyes on whether Jamaica can deliver the 4x100m relay title.
Victory would ensure Bolt finishes with the 100m, 200m and 4x100m sweep in three consecutive Olympics, a goal that heaps pressure on the Jamaican team.
The baton-passing relay events are fraught with risk but Bolt said he hopes he will be remembered as one of the greatest names in sport after Rio.
"I am trying to be one of the greatest. Be among (Muhammad) Ali and Pele," he said. "I hope after these Games I will be in that bracket."
After an Olympics which already set the seal on swimmer Michael Phelps` record-breaking Games career, Bolt will be desperate to bow out on a triumphant note.
He stands to equal Carl Lewis and Finn Paavo Nurmi`s record of nine athletics gold medals, and can join American Frank Wykoff (1928, 1932, 1936) as only the second man to win the 4x100m relay three times.
World athletics chief Sebastian Coe is already in no doubt about the impact of the 29-year-old, the star attraction of a sport whose reputation has repeatedly been dragged through the mud by doping scandals.
"The man is a genius," Coe told AFP. "There`s been nobody since Muhammad Ali who`s got remotely near to what this guy has done in terms of grabbing the public imagination."
Jamaica`s women are also chasing a sweep in the sprint events, with 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson expected to anchor their 4x100m relay team.A busy night on the track should draw attention from the lurid Ryan Lochte scandal after the US swimmer, who lied about an armed mugging to cover up an act of vandalism, apologised for his behaviour.
The International Olympic Committee told AFP it would start a disciplinary inquiry into Lochte and three other swimmers into an incident that embarrassed first the Games` hosts, and then the US Olympic Committee.
"The IOC has named a disciplinary commission and there will be an inquiry into the four swimmers," an official said. "The commission members can ask to hear the swimmers and we will see if there is material for a sanction."
Elsewhere the Games` final Friday saw brisk action with 22 gold medals up for grabs heading into the last two days of competition.
Spain`s Carolina Marin became the first non-Asian women`s singles badminton champion, winning in three games against P.V. Sindhu -- who became India`s first ever female Olympic silver medallist.
"I`m the first Indian woman to get a silver medal at the Olympics so that`s a great thing for me," beamed Sindhu, 21.
Malaysia`s Lee Chong Wei broke his jinx against Chinese nemesis Lin Dan as he beat the two-time defending champion to set up a men`s final with Chen Long.
Estelle Mossely celebrated her 24th birthday in style as she beat China`s Yin Junhua to become the first Frenchwoman to win Olympic boxing gold.
In hot conditions, world champion Matej Toth won a gruelling 50km walk littered with casualties including France`s Yohann Diniz, who soldiered on despite suffering intestinal problems.
The United States` `Dream Team` of NBA stars beat Spain 82-76 to go into a men`s basketball final against either Australia or Serbia.
And New Zealand`s world number one Lydia Ko, 19, hit her first ever hole-in-one to keep pressure on South Korea`s Park In-Bee, who leads by two heading into the last round of the women`s golf.