The uneasy farewell of two sports icons – The San Diego Union-Tribune

After Emperor Augustus defeated Antony and Cleopatra to bring Egypt under Roman rule in 27 BC, the Senate decided a suitable honor was renaming things after him. So the calendar’s eighth month became Augustus, later shortened to August in English. It was given 31 days instead of 30 because the previous month named after Julius Caesar (July) had 31 and the Senate didn’t want to shortchange the man who conquered Egypt.

The word, august, came to be defined as respected, impressive, inspiring reverence, marked by dignity or grandeur.

It was a fitting if unwitting choice, then, for two of history’s most iconic athletes to end their careers after imperiously lording over their sports for the past decade.

On Aug. 13 in London, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt limped through an emotional “victory” lap at track and field’s World Championships despite not actually winning anything and declared: “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.”

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