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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Bolt moves one step closer to legend with Olympic record-breaking run

Bolt moves one step closer to legend with Olympic record-breaking run

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Bolt moves one step closer to legend with Olympic record-breaking run

By Jonathan McEvoy
UK Daily Mail
6 August 2012

If only he could start. If only he did not party until 5am. If only he was not 95 per cent fit. If only he did not guzzle chicken nuggets.

Just think how good Usain Bolt could be.

But, really, what a performance we witnessed as the world’s most elusive man returned to being the world’s fastest man.

The questions had assailed him across the year and across the globe. He pulled out of competitions, he was in a car crash, he visited his doctor in Germany for magic potions to soothe his back-related injuries, he did not race his training partner and chief rival Yohan Blake other than when he had to — at the Jamaican trials — where he lost.

Simply the best: Bolt still crossed the line with daylight between him and the rest.

Here he was back to something approaching his best. His time of 9.63sec was faster than he ran in Beijing four years ago (9.69sec), when his superiority was so great that he launched a mid-race chest-thumping celebration that beguiled the world, if not the IOC president, who thought it disrespectful.

On Sunday he pushed all the way. Yes, he had strolled to the final. But once he got to the start of the big one — 9.50pm London time — he left nothing to chance.

His start was not brilliant but his technique held together. His face told of total application and, given all Bolt’s natural long-striding gifts, it was enough.

‘You guys doubted me and I’ve shown the world that I am the greatest,’ he said. ‘The last 50 metres is where I shine, so I just did that.

‘I’m not concerned by what people have said. I’ve said it from the start: people can talk. All they can do is talk. When it comes to the championships, it’s all about business to me — and I brought it home.’

Bolt’s victory was precisely the result that athletics needed. He is the star turn, the cavorting highwire act who reaches out to all ages and colours.

With respect to Blake, the silver medallist, he does not possess the magnetism of Bolt.

As for Justin Gatlin, the bronze medallist, a victory for him would have represented a desperately low point in these celebratory Games given his drug-taking habits.

As everyone left the stadium yesterday — other than us scribblers and a group who hung on to cheer Bolt’s name — our great former decathlete Daley Thompson’s voice spoke out, encouraging parents to help their kids take up sport.

It is that near-exhausted word ‘legacy’ that Thompson was addressing. What happens in this stadium will beget the next generation of our athletes. And no single foot racer can do more worldwide towards that ideal than the gallivanting hero of last night.

Yes, it will take schools and clubs to make themselves available to accommodate newcomers to their ranks, but the first requirement is for kids to be inspired by Bolt and his ilk.

We all cherish our Olympic memories from childhood and are thankful for the nourishment, health-wise and culturally, that they have given us.

The one hope, which Bolt has addressed, is that athletics would wither if he fell under suspicion of drug-taking. He has never failed a test and until he does, should it ever come, we must celebrate him as a beacon of hope for sport.

That sentiment chimes with the feelgood mood of these Games. You go on to a Tube and people speak to each other. Yes, on the London Underground with its tradition of blank faces and averted stares. The stadium roar registers high on the decibel scale.

It reached its zenith on Saturday night with the cacophony that cheered on Mo Farah to his 10,000m win, just after Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis had started the athletics gold rush.

In terms of electrifying capacity, last night’s race may not have equalled Ben Johnson’s epoch-making run in Seoul in 1988, before the race was discredited as the most infamously dirty track deed of all time, or of Bolt’s Beijing pyrotechnics.

It was though, still the fastest race ever, Olympic or otherwise. Seven of the finalists went under 10sec, with only Asafa Powell, who pulled up, spoiling the single-figure neatness.

‘It was wonderful,’ said Bolt of the atmosphere. ‘I knew it was going to be like this. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it was going to be loud and it was going to be great. You can feel that energy, so I feel extremely good and I’m happy.

‘This win means I’m one step closer to being a legend. I have the 200m to go.’

As everyone in the stadium recognised, his status as the presiding genius of the sprinting world is not in doubt. He just had to show up and prove the point in the blink of an eye.



Bolt retains 100m title in Olympic record time

Posted by Reuters

Jamaican Usain Bolt retained his Olympic 100 metres crown in spectacular style on Sunday, scorching to the second-fastest time ever run at 9.63 seconds and becoming the first man to win back-to-back titles on the track.

The Jamaican's 9.58-second run to win the 2009 world title is the only quicker time and Sunday's brilliant display silenced the doubters who predicted his hamstring problems would open the door for his rivals in one of the most eagerly-anticipated races in history.

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 near the end to ruin a potential Jamaican sweep.

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 the night was all about Bolt, who has said repeatedly that he needed back-to-back titles to cement his place among the sport's "legends".

He now stands alongside Carl Lewis as the only men with two 100 metres golds, though the American's second in 1988 came only after race winner Ben Johnson was disqualified for doping.

Having been disqualified for a false start in last year's world championships final Bolt was never going to risk a flying getaway but he was into his running quickly and up with his key rivals within a few metres.

Blake, who beat him in the Jamaican trials, and Gatlin, back in the mix after serving a doping ban and Powell were all going well but they needed to have clear air if they were to have any chance of an upset.

His face crunched in concentration, Bolt overhauled them soon after halfway and he, the rest of the field and 80,000 roaring fans knew it was over.

He crossed the line with his eyes on the clock, his face revealing a look more of relief than joy, before he pointed to the sky and carried on at almost full bore 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 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.

Running with him then will be Blake, whose rivalry with his team mate, friend and training partner could keep athletics fans drooling for years.

"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."

Gatlin, who served a four-year ban for his second doping offence, was delighted to be involved.

"A lot of people on twitter and facebook think that I'm the bad guy but I'm not and I had to prove that tonight," he said.

"I remember last year I couldn't even be here (before, but to be part of this race for me is just incredible. i just wanted to be on that podium."

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also retained her women's title to give her country a flying start in their sprint showdown with the United States.

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