When you think of Track And Field, no name epitomizes the sport greater than Usain Bolt. A man gifted with unimaginable talent, the likes of which the world has never seen before. On 13th of August, 2017, Bolt will run his last competitive race at the 2017 World Championships as he calls time on an illustrious career. He will don the Jamaican colors one last time as he runs the 4 x 100 meter relay.

Bolt has ruled the world of track and field for almost 10 years. His breathtaking performances in Beijing catapulted him into the history books. In a 100 meter race, which usually lasts a shy under 10 seconds, it's just not fair that he can open up a 5 meter lead over his nearest opponent and start to showboat before he crosses the finish line.

Such was the extent of his God given ability and his nearest rival usually finished meters behind.

A once-in-a-lifetime attraction

Barring the one false start in Daegu in 2011 during the World Championships, Bolt’s career has hardly had a single blemish. We live in an era where it’s probably easier now than ever to source and consume performance enhancing drugs. It’s also probably easier now than ever to get caught consuming them. Bolt however would have none of it. Who does he have to beat other thank himself?

Doping in athletics rampant even at the grass root level. Young athletes are resorting to ingenious ways to abuse performance enhancing substances just to secure a college scholarship.

The list of banned substances is only getting bigger and bigger. So, it’s not uncommon for an athlete to consume a ‘prescription drug’ that is also a performance enhancer. Some athletes have consumed substances that they did not know where banned while others have been victim to sabotage by having their meals spiked.

Yet, not one single formal drug related accusation was thrown at Bolt.

Ask any track and field athlete and they’ll tell you how hard that is. Not only did he maintain a clean reputation, he also undid some of the damage his predecessors did by producing one breathtaking performance after another. While the sport is far from being clean, Bolt did what one Usain Bolt could do. Unfortunately for athletics, it may never see another Usain Bolt.

He set the bar too high for the sport's own good

However, when it comes to competition, Bolt’s presence surely brought about a sense of imbalance. Some say that we live in the ‘Golden Age’ of sprinting. Athletics is blessed to have the likes of Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, and of course Bolt’s training partner, Yohan Blake all running in the same era. All these athletes have two things in common. 1) Wishing they did not run in the same era as Bolt and 2) a drug charge! Barring Blake, all of these sprinters have held the World 100 meter record at some point. Did Bolt raise the bar to a degree where it’s just not humanly possible to compete? Yes he did!

Though sporting fans around the world are mourning the retirement of the legend, several sprinters are undoubtedly happy to bid the legend farewell.

Whenever Bolt laced up his boots, you knew he was going to win. His opponents knew he was going to win. The spotlight was always on him and hardly ever on the athlete that came in second. Even when bolt didn’t win, the cameras were always on him after the race.

Without Bolt; Powell, Gay, Gatlin and Blake could have been much bigger stars than they are now. Bolt raised the competition that made these athletes look sub-standard. They couldn’t beat Bolt even on their best day. The writing was always on the wall when Bolt ran the field and for this very reason, I believe several sprinters around the world are happy to see him off. It’s almost like Bolt’s retirement has shifted the balance in favor of other sprinters and in a lot of ways, made the sport unpredictable.

The track and field world will forever be indebted to Bolt for bringing the spotlight back on the sport. The sport has always been in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Constantly being plagued with charges of drug abuse, the sport needed a larger than life, insanely talented and highly charismatic "clean" athlete to lift the sport from shambles. The boos that Justin Gatlin had to endure on winning Bolt's final race is testimony to the fact that the world is not ready to forgive him.

Bolt entered the sport at the right time. He gave the sport hope. He gave other athletes hope. He gave the tiny island nation of Jamaica more than they could have ever expected. He single-handedly did what nobody else before him was able to do. The world will be eager to watch him strike his lightning bolt celebratory pose as he’s ready to take center stage this week one last time.