London: Usain Bolt pleaded with an official to let him keep the yellow baton he carried across the finish line while anchoring Jamaica to a world record in the Olympic 4x100-meter relay.
Bolt didn't get that souvenir at first. Eventually, it was returned.
"I asked and I guess somebody talked to the guy and said you need to give him that back. So I got it," Bolt said.
Bolt said its the first baton he's ever asked for, and he asked his three Jamaican teammates to sign it. They also posed for a picture he plans to frame and hang with the baton.
About even with the last U.S. runner when he got the stick, Bolt steadily pulled away over the last 100 meters, gritting his teeth and leaning at the line to cap his perfect 3-for-3 Olympics by leading Jamaica to the sprint relay title in 36.84 seconds Saturday night.
Bolt added that gold to the ones he earned in the 100 and 200.
The United States got the silver in 37.04, matching the old record that Bolt helped set at last year's world championships. Trinidad & Tobago took the bronze in 38.12 after Canada, which was third across the line, was disqualified for running outside its lane.
The quartet of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, double Olympic sprint silver medallist Yohan Blake and Bolt scorched to 36.84sec, beating their previous record of 37.04sec set in the 2011 worlds in Daegu.
"It's always a beautiful thing to end on this note," said Bolt. "Last year we did it at the world championships, this year we did it again so for me it's wonderful feeling to end on a high note.
"It was a great championships, I'm happy. The team came out and gave it their all. I knew it (a world record) was possible, I wish we could have gone faster but I guess we leave room for improvement."
Missing usual anchor man Asafa Powell through injury, the baton was passed from Carter to Jamaican team captain Frater and on to Blake with the ease of accustomed practitioners of the relay.
Blake set a blistering pace around the bend, the crowd on their feet as Bolt positioned himself and set off.
Taking the baton in his left hand just before the limit of the changeover area, Bolt swiftly transferred the yellow baton to his right hand.
The US team's anchor man, Ryan Bailey, was neck-and-neck with Bolt, but the Jamaican dipped his head and pushed through his drive phase.
After 20 metres, the head came up as he reached terminal velocity, Bailey by that stage trailing in his towering wake.
Bolt flew up the home stretch and flung himself savagely across the line, which he later kissed in celebration, quickly enveloped by his team-mates to the cheers from an adoring public.
The London Games are Bolt's fourth global championship since 2008 and his record is startling.
He has won seven titles in the eight individual events in which he has competed, his one blip coming when he was disqualified from the Daegu world championship 100m final last year after a false start.
Bolt, also the world record holder in both the 100 and 200m, was in addition part of the Jamaican relay team that won four golds in that time.
"He's a living legend," Lamine Diack, head of athletics' world governing body the IAAF, said shortly before the relay.
"He's a young man who's brought a great deal to our sport. He's an extraordinary talent. He's excellent for our sport. We're delighted we have him and we support him all the way."
Tyson Gay, who ran the third leg for the US team, said he had been left with a bittersweet feeling.
"Sometimes it is bittersweet when you lose and still get a record," Gay said. "It's tough sometimes but I am just happy to get a medal, I am extremely happy."
Bailey added: "I ran for my life. It was a great effort. We can't be upset. We broke the national record.
"When I took the baton, I was thinking 'run, run, run for my life' but Usain Bolt is a monster. I was just trying to run."