Usain Bolt: Five times sport failed to follow the script

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There are moments in sport that are so perfect it is as if they have been scripted.

South Africa's victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, Great Britain's 'Super Saturday' at the London 2012 Olympic Games, or Australia's Ashes whitewash as they said farewell to a string of greats in 2007 - there is no shortage of occasions that could have been written for the silver screen.

That was not true of Usain Bolt's farewell at London Stadium on Saturday, however.

With the world willing him to claim one last gold medal in his final appearance in individual competition, the Jamaican sprint king could only manage bronze as American duo Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman beat him to the line.

The disappointment - emphasised by the unpopularity of Gatlin as winner of the 100 metres final at the IAAF World Championships - was palpable, as boos gave way for chants of "Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt...".

Unpredictably is, of course, part of what makes sport so great, but it hasn't half robbed us of some potentially iconic moments over the years... 

 

BRAZIL SUFFER WORLD CUP HUMILIATION

The script: Hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, Brazil - the competition's most decorated side - were expected by many to go all the way in 2014, inspired by the likes of superstar forward Neymar.

The reality: Brazil made steady progress through the tournament, beating Chile on penalties before a 2-1 victory over Colombia set up a semi-final clash with Germany. However, that is where the dreams of the host nation turned into nightmares, as - without the injured Neymar and suspended captain Thiago Silva - they were served one of the most humiliating defeats in World Cup history, losing 7-1 to the eventual winners.

 

SERENA FALLS SHORT

The Script: Having won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015, Serena Williams was on course to complete the first calendar Grand Slam in women's tennis since 1988.

The reality: Williams reached the last four having dropped sets only against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and sister Venus, and she looked set for the final when she won the opening set 6-2 against the unseeded Roberta Vinci. However, the Italian stunned Williams by recovering to win the next two and hand her opponent a first Flushing Meadows defeat since the 2011 semis.

 

NEAR-PERFECT PATRIOTS

The script: The New England Patriots looked destined to become only the second team to complete a perfect season in the NFL in 2007, joining 1972 Super Bowl winners the Miami Dolphins.

The reality: It was set up beautifully for the Patriots to claim their share of history. A 16-0 record in the regular season was followed by post-season wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Diego Chargers. But their bid for perfection fell at the final hurdle, losing 17-14 to the New York Giants at Super Bowl XLII. A book documenting the Patriots' perfect season had been advertised for pre-sale just days before the Giants tore up the script. Awkward.

 

WARRIORS WILT

The script: Having broken record after record during the 2015-16 NBA season and opened up a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, the Golden State Warriors were dead certs for the win...

The reality: The Warriors somehow managed to throw away their healthy advantage, becoming the first team in NBA history to squander a 3-1 lead in the Finals. At least they had the consolation of finishing the season having scrawled their names all over the record books, posting the best regular-season record (73-9), most wins (88) and best start (24-0) among other achievements. 

 

ZIDANE LOSES HIS HEAD

The script: One of the greatest footballers of all time, Zinedine Zidane, plays in the World Cup final in his last match before retirement. There can only be one outcome, right?

The reality: The 2006 World Cup final is mostly remembered for one thing - Zidane's shocking headbutt to the chest of Marco Materazzi. The incident brought an unfortunate end to France icon's stellar career, and - to rub salt in the wounds - Italy went on to win the final on penalties after goals from, coincidentally, Zidane and Materazzi had sent the game to extra time.