LONDON: Usain Bolt backed up his billing as a “living legend” by winning the Olympic 200 meters and becoming the first athlete to repeat as double Olympic sprint champion. “It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live,” Bolt said. “I’ve got nothing left to prove.”
Undaunted by the first world record of the Olympic track meet run by 800-meter winner David Rudisha less than an hour before his final, Bolt was not going to be upstaged by anyone.
From the starter’s gun, he dominated his favorite event and had enough of a lead to slow down at the line, bring his left index finger to his mouth and signal a “ssssshhh” that was broadcast around the globe.
It should certainly silence the critics who doubted his form ahead of the Olympics. But he didn’t have a chance of hushing the 80,000-capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium, which went wild as Bolt delivered on his promise of winning when it counts.
His 19.32-second winning time was just 0.02 seconds outside his winning mark at the Beijing Olympics.
Just like Sunday’s victory in the 100, his junior training partner Yohan Blake was the runner who stayed closest, and Warren Weir made it a full Jamaican medal sweep before Wallace Spearmon of the United States crossed in fourth place.
“The guy is just on another planet right now,” Spearmon said of Bolt.
The Jamaican sprinter can still make it 6-for-6 at two Olympics if he leads his nation to victory in the relay.
“It’s all about the 4x100 now, to have some fun and go out there and do our best,” Bolt said.
Bolt was intense for the 100 meters, when the black woolen hat he wore before those races reflected his mood and the cold conditions.
Thursday’s weather of 23C and the prospect of winning his beloved 200 title brought out the Bolt of old. Wearing a Jamaica-yellow cap backward and joking with his kit volunteer, he made the pre-race activities feel like a small-town Caribbean weekend track meet.
Next to him, Blake was all intensity and concentration. But it wasn’t enough to upstage Bolt like he did at the Jamaican trials.
Rudisha was just as confident as Bolt. He predicted a world record and delivered with an overpowering show of front-running to win the 800 title.
When many were still hoping that Bolt would set such a world mark in the 200 later Thursday, the Kenyan stole some of the Jamaican sprinter’s thunder at the beginning of a balmy evening suited for setting great times.
Rudisha set off with his giant strides from the starting gun, immediately took the lead and steadily built on it, as many of the year’s greatest middle distance runners could never even get close.
He finished in 1 minute 40.91 seconds, shaving 0.10 of a second off the mark he set in 2010.
“Yes, he’s the greatest runner,” said Timothy Kitum, Rudisha’s teammate who took bronze. “He told me he’s going to run a word record today. He’s the best.”
The decathlon traditionally crowns “the world’s greatest athlete” but for Ashton Eaton it was tough to get much attention on a night when Bolt and Rudisha were dominant.
World-record holder Eaton won by 198 points from U.S. teammate and two time world champion Trey Hardee. Leonel Suarez of Cuba took the bronze. Christian Taylor won the Olympic triple jump gold medal Thursday night, overhauling U.S. teammate Will Claye with his fourth jump in the final.
Taylor, the world champion, earned the Olympic title with a best jump of 17.81 meters.
Claye, the world indoor champion who had already won a bronze medal in the long jump at the London Games, earned silver in 17.62.European champion Fabrizio Donato of Italy, 35, took bronze at 17.48. World record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic successfully defended her javelin title in dominant style with a throw of 69.55 meters at the London Olympics Thursday.
The 31-year-old former world champion led the competition from her first attempt of 66.90 and all four of her legal throws were longer than anyone else in the field could manage.
Spotakova was just the second woman to win the title at successive Games after East Germany’s Ruth Fuchs, who won gold in 1972 and 1976.
Germany’s Christina Obergfoell took silver with her opening attempt of 65.16 meters before fouling her five subsequent throws and her compatriot Linda Stahl finished third for bronze.
Russia’s world champion Maria Abakumova, who took Spotakova’s title in Daegu last year, failed to reach the final eight.