Perfect gift for Jamaica
06 Aug 2012
LONDON — As promised, Jamaican Usain Bolt blitzed to victory in the men’s 100 metres Olympic sprint last night, banishing doubts that he was still the fastest man on Earth.
A packed crowd of 80 000 at the main stadium roared the runners home as Bolt comfortably eclipsed training partner and compatriot Yohan Blake, who many considered his main rival going into the race.
The towering athlete broke the tape in 9,63 seconds, an Olympic record and the second fastest time ever behind his own world record of 9,58.
World champion Yohan Blake made it a Jamaican 1-2 when he won silver in 9,75 seconds and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin of the United states grabbed bronze in 9,79 as the first seven men all broke 10 seconds. Asafa Powell pulled up with a groin injury.
Blake’s time equalled his personal best and Gatlin beat his. Tyson Gay finished fourth in a season’s best 9,80 seconds with fellow American Ryan Bailey fifth in an equal PB of 9,88.
But it was all about Bolt, who said repeatedly that he needed back-to-back titles to cement his place among the sport greats.
Carl Lewis is the only other man to win two Olympic 100 m titles, and the American’s second gold came only after Ben Johnson was disqualified for doping.
Bolt was slow out of the blocks and trailed Blake, who beat him in the Jamaican trials, and Gatlin, back in the mix after serving a doping ban.
However, his massive stride reeled them in and he roared through the line, barely easing his speed as he tore round the bend to soak up the adulation of the delirious crowd.
“When I went out in the first run, I felt ‘I can do this,’ Bolt told the BBC in reference to his opening heat on Saturday.
“I was slightly worried about my start. I didn’t want to false start again. So I think I sat in the blocks a little bit, I don’t think it was the best reaction in the world, but I executed and that was the key.
“Remember I told you my coach said ‘Stop worrying about your start, the best of your race is at the end, that’s where you rule.’ So I stopped worrying about the start and I executed, so it worked.”
Bolt, who was disqualified from last year’s world championship final for a false start, will now bid to complete an unprecedented double-double by retaining his 200 metres title and will also seek a sixth sprint gold in the 4x100 metres relay.
“Usain knows what it takes, he is a world beater and he is the fastest man in the world,” said Blake. “But I got a medal in my first Olympic Games and a lot of that is down to Usain and our coach.”
Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce got the Jamaican party started on Saturday, retaining her 100 metre women’s title.
The Jamaican runners’ wins gave a perfect gift for their country on the eve of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, and will trigger wild celebrations back home.
On the track yesterday during the build-up to the 100 m dash, Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States won the 400 m title at the third time of asking, ahead of British defending champion Christine Ohuruogu, who snatched silver on the line.