RIO DE JANEIRO (CNN) — Four years ago, Canut Lawrence made himself a promise.
A track and field enthusiast from Jamaica but living and working in Canada, he traveled to the Olympics in London and watched on in awe as Usain Bolt walked away with three gold medals for the second Games in a row.
Lawrence was inspired and swore he would follow the world’s fastest man to Brazil, where his compatriot would bid to complete a historic “triple-triple” of sprint titles at Rio 2016.
On a hot, humid nightbr Friday, both men made good on their word.
As Bolt streaked across the finish line to a thunderous ovation in the men’s 4×100-meter relay, Lawrence rejoiced.
“He symbolizes pride, he really symbolizes what Jamaica is all about,” Lawrence told CNN. “Growing up in humble circumstances and rising above difficult situations.
“Jamaicans are extremely proud to see a boy of the soil, not somebody who was born into wealth. This is a young man who came from a very small district in Trelawny. To see what he has accomplished, it is phenomenal.
“Just to be here, to see history being made, I can’t tell you how that feels.”
While Lawrence was lost for words, Bolt summed it up perfectly.
“There you go,” he said. “I’m the greatest.”
Running the anchor leg, as he had done in the previous Games, Bolt surged away from the Japanese quartet who took a surprise silver medal.
Taking the baton from Nickel Ashmeade after Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake had made the early running, Bolt charged home to record a time of 37.27.
The USA was third across the line but was later disqualified for what appeared to be a handover violation, with Canada moving up to bronze medal position. The Americans appealed the decision and USA Track and Field tweeted early Saturday that it expected a decision in the morning.
Although he alone goes down in the record books with nine gold medals, Bolt was quick to thank his teammates for their contribution.
“My team came through for me tonight,” added Bolt, who turns 30 on Sunday. “As long as we got the baton round, it was never in doubt.”
As the final running of perhaps the greatest show on earth was taking place on the track, empty seats were once again visible in the stadium.
Nonetheless, the considerable crowd that had gathered in the stadium once again chanted his name, as the now familiar sounds of Bob Marley signaled another Jamaican sprint triumph.
And for the third time in less than a week, Bolt knelt down and kissed the track. A final gesture to the Games that made him an icon.
“He deserves all of the accolades,” Lawrence said. “There will never be another Usain Bolt. He has the talent, the skill, the charisma, he’s very playful. And people love that.”
Lawrence has never met Bolt, although he did take pictures with his dad in London.
If he did meet the man behind his trip to South America, what would he say?
“Continue being who you are, continue being humble, continue being that being that effervescent person that you are,” Lawrence replied. “Don’t change for anyone. We’re loving the way he is.”
And after achieving a feat no Olympian in history has managed, Bolt knows how he wants to celebrate.
“I’m going to stay up late and have fun,” he said. “I never knew this would happen when I started out.”