Jamaica's Usain Bolt defends Olympic 100m title
Sprinting great sets his own Olympic record en route to gold
Usain Bolt remains the fastest man on the planet.
The Jamaican great successfully defended his Olympic title after winning the men’s 100-metre final Sunday in London.
Bolt ran in a sizzling time of 9.63 seconds, setting a new Olympic record. He becomes the first man since Carl Lewis (1984-1988) to win back-to-back Olympic sprint golds.
The victory came one day before Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of independence.
"Means a lot, because a lot of people were doubting me," Bolt said. "A lot of people were saying I wasn't going to win, I didn't look good. There was a lot of talk. It's an even greater feeling to come out here and defend my title and show the world I'm still No. 1, I'm still the best."
Jamaica's Yohan Blake, the reigning world champion and Bolt's training partner, crossed the line second in 9.75, while American Justin Gatlin finished with the bronze medal in 9.79.
Bottle thrower busted
A man was arrested for throwing a plastic bottle on the track at Olympic Stadium about a second before the start of the men's 100-metre final.
Scotland Yard said a suspect is being held at a police station on suspicion of causing a public nuisance. The eight competitors in the final were apparently unaffected, and many said they didn't know about the bottle until being told about it by reporters afterward.
"I just heard about it. I didn't actually see it," gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica said. "I don't promote violence. Sorry to hear that."
Police said the 40-year-old man was heard shouting abuse before he threw the bottle. His name was not immediately released.
It landed on the track about 10 metres behind the runners, who were already in the starting blocks. The bottle bounced a few times and came to rest in the lane occupied by Jamaica's Yohan Blake, who finished second in the race.
"I was so focused, I didn't see anything," Blake said.
Edith Bosch of the Netherlands, who won a judo bronze medal earlier in the games, wrote on Twitter that she was in the stands and that "a drunken" fan threw the bottle. Security was seen rushing toward one section of seats just after the 100-metre final started.
"There was a little distraction," said American bronze medalist Justin Gatlin. "I didn't know what it was. But when you're in those blocks and the whole stadium is quiet, you can hear a pin drop, literally. So you just have to block it out and go out there and do what you have to do. You can't complain about that. The race went on. It was a great race."
— The Associated Press
"It just feels good to be back," said Gatlin, who served a four-year ban after testing positive for excessive testosterone.
Bolt ran the second fastest time in the history of the event, falling short of his own world record he set at the Berlin world championships in 2009 when he ran a mind-boggling 9.58. He does, however, break his Olympic record set during a sterling 9.69 performance at the Beijing Olympics.
There has never been a field this deep. Seven of the eight sprinters ran under 10 seconds for the first time in history.
Only Asafa Powell, who pulled up before the line with an apparent injury, failed to make it a complete sweep.
The charismatic Bolt was his usually playful self moments before the start of the race.
Then it got serious.
Bolt blows away field
With the hush hovering over London’s Olympic stadium, the 25-year-old got off to his typical slow start, falling behind both Blake and Gatlin.
But Bolt began to surge around the 50-metre mark before using his trademark long strides to blow away his competition at the finish.
"I stopped worrying about the start," he said. "The end is what's important."
There was no playing around for Bolt at the end. While he normally likes to coast to the line, he needed all his energy to pull out the win against the strongest field this event has ever seen.
"I had to show the world I'm the greatest," he said.
The scene after the race also took on a familiar sight, with Bolt high-fiving fans during his victory lap and dropping to kiss the track.
A flood of "Usain! Usain! Usain!" chants filled Olympic Stadium following the race.
"I've said it over the years, that when it comes to the championships, this is what I do," Bolt said. "It's all about business for me."
A moment before the starting gun, a bottle was tossed from the stands and it landed on the track behind Blake's lane. But neither Bolt nor Blake noticed.
"When they say, 'On your marks,' that's when the focus starts," Bolt said.
Prior to London, Blake had been the best sprinter during the last 12 months. He’s beat Bolt twice, including once at the Jamaican trials in a time of 9.75, and another in the men's 200m.
Fastest times ever
- Usain Bolt, 9.58 (2009 Berlin Worlds)
- Usain Bolt, 9.63 (2012 London Olympics)
- Usain Bolt, 9.69 (2008 Beijing Olympics)
- Tyson Gay, 9.69 (2009 Berlin Worlds)
- Asafa Powell, 9.72 (2008 Lausanne Meet)
- Yohan Blake, 9.75 (2012 Jamaican Trials)
Blake also joined Bolt, Powell and Gay as the only men to ever post a time of 9.75 or under.
Bolt didn’t come into these Games with much momentum. During the last two years he’s endured injuries, a disqualification for a false start in the 100m final of the 2011 world championship final, and even a car crash.
In the lead-up to London, Bolt — admitting to being at 95 per cent a week ago — a bad back caused his hamstring problems.
None of those issues were evident Sunday.
"The trials woke me up. Yohan gave me a wakeup call," Bolt said. "He knocked on my door and said, 'Usain, wake up! This is an Olympic year.'"
With files from The Associated Press