Usain Bolt said he was “saying goodbye to everything” and “almost cried” as his successful career came to a close at the World Championships in London.
Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt, 30, is retiring from athletics having illuminated the sport like few others.
“It’s really sad that I have to walk away now,” said the Jamaican, who completed a lap of honour of London Stadium on Sunday’s closing night.
“I was saying goodbye to the fans and saying goodbye to my events also.”
When asked if he would consider a return to racing, he replied: “I’ve seen too many people retire and come back just to make it worse or to shame themselves.
“I won’t be one of those people.”
Bolt could only manage bronze in his penultimate race – the men’s 100m – before pulling up injured just as he began to hit top speed in his final event, the 4x100m relay, on Saturday night.
It meant the 19-time global champion, recently described by Lord Coe as “a genius” akin to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, bowed out in unfamiliar fashion – helped off the track by his team-mates, barely able to stand upright.
“For me, I don’t think one championship is going to change what I’ve done,” he added.
“I remember after losing the 100m, someone said to me, ‘Usain, no worries, Muhammad Ali lost his last fight also, so don’t be stressed about that’.
“I’ve proven myself year in, year out, throughout my whole career. I was saying goodbye to everything. I almost cried. It was close, but it didn’t come.”