DAEGU, South Korea - Usain Bolt again did the unbelievable when it mattered most in the 100 metres.
This time, no gold medal or world record, but a false start and straight elimination from the world championships in a race he has regally reigned over for three years.
In a stunning few seconds, Bolt's showboating turned into real-life despair when he jumped the gun and was led away from the track before Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won gold ahead of American rival Walter Dix.
"Looking for tears?" Bolt asked. "Not going to happen. I'm OK."
While everyone had been wondering what Bolt would do to his world record of 9.58 seconds, it was Blake who won his first 100 title with a slow time of 9.92, the only racer to break 10 seconds in the final.
Dix took silver in 10.08 and Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis was third in 10.09.
"I didn't really think they were going to kick him out," Dix said. "How can you kick Usain out of the race?"
Even as the final went ahead, Bolt was the centre of attention, and for once in his golden career he was not play-acting.
Instead of beating the clock, he beat the starting gun.
Three steps into in his race after the starting gun, Bolt's face turned into a primal scream. And in one instinctive move he started pulling off his Jamaica shirt, needing no one to tell him he had made the biggest error in his career.
He was shown the red card and led to the sideline.
He gritted his teeth in self disgust, and threw up his arms in desperation. Hands over his head, he walked away before slamming the blue stadium wall.
All dreams of a third golden triple in as many major championships were gone, and he had no one to blame but himself. One year ahead of the London Olympics, the world championships showed him as human instead of an infallible sporting superstar.
At the 2008 Olympics, he performed beyond expectations by getting three sprint gold medals and as many world records. One year later at the world championships in Berlin, he did the same with three more titles. Only because his Jamaican 4x100 relay team ran the second fastest race in history was he denied another three world records.
So by now, even with a slower season, no one knew what to expect — except it would be another victory on Sunday.
Instead, they saw Bolt do what the 25-year-old Jamaican had never done at a major meet — he lost the cool which made him famous.
Bolt's error will again raise questions about the rule change in 2010 that cut out the allowance for one false start. In the semifinals, world indoor sprint champion Dwain Chambers was also eliminated because of false start.