Sprinters Bolt, Powell impress in 100-metre heats
That bolt of lightning on the track was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt out for a morning jog in Beijing, breezing to victory in his qualifying heat for the 100 metres at the Summer Olympics on Friday.
Bolt, who owns the world record of 9.72 seconds, looked sluggish off the start, but the lanky 21-year-old pulled ahead with 50 metres remaining and literally strolled across the finish line in 10.20 seconds.
Bolt picked up the pace in avoiding the interview area, promising to speak to reporters later.
"Tonight, tonight, tonight," he said.
Bolt's teammate, Asafa Powell, won his opening-round heat in 10.16 as he exploded out of the blocks and led by such a wide margin that he began shutting down over the final 25 metres.
Powell held the world mark of 9.74 until Bolt broke it June 1 in New York.
Donovan Bailey of Oakville, Ont., owns the Olympic record of 9.84 set at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Toronto's Pierre Browne was quick off the gun as he placed second behind Jamaica's Michael Frater in the fourth heat at Beijing's National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest.
Browne, 28, posted a time of 10.22, same as Darrel Brown from Trinidad and Tobago.
"I got out and kept it real smooth," Browne told CBC Sports. "It was a good start.
"It [the track] is pretty smooth, a little hard. But it's a fast track, so no complaints."
Frater's time of 10.15 stood as the swiftest until Britain's Tyrone Edgar ran 10.13.
"There is a very good chance we're going to have six Caribbeans in the final," Frater said.
American standout Tyson Gay had no trouble winning his heat, also in 10.22.
It was Gay's first sprint since he injured his left hamstring at last month's U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.
"It feels good," Gay said. "My body is woke up."
Anson Henry of Pickering, Ont., had the quickest reaction time (0.138) at the start of the seventh heat, but he faded to fourth in 10.37.
Henry, 29, tied for 31st overall, so he still qualified — but would have fared better had Walter Dix of the U.S. not leaned forward at the line and edged him out by 2-100ths of a second.
The top three finishers in each of the 10 heats, plus the next 10 fastest qualifiers, advance to the quarter-finals.
Armstrong, Steacy reach finals
Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C., secured third place in Group A with a season-high heave of 20.43 metres in qualifying for the final of the men's shot put.
The hulking 21-year-old was bettered by Poland's Tomasz Majewski (21.04), who set a personal best, and Christian Cantwell of the U.S. (20.48).
Armstrong is scheduled to be the 12th and final participant in the final (9 a.m. ET).
American Nelson Adam, a two-time silver medallist, won Group B at 20.56, despite nursing sore ribs suffered in training.
"It is a case of mind over matter," he said. "If I breathe or turn the wrong way, it bothers me."
Canadian hammer thrower Jim Steacy qualified for the final with a 76.32-metre toss in his first attempt.
The 24-year-old resident of Lethbridge, Alta., was the seventh and final qualifier out of Group B, won by Poland's Szymon Ziolkowski with a season-best hoist of 79.55.
Krisztian Pars of Hungary and Japan's Koji Murofushi emerged from Group A with scores of 80.07 and 78.16, respectively.
With files from the Associated Press