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Monday, August 6, 2012 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
Usain Bolt again world's fastest man, defends 100 gold | Olympic track
By Linda Robertson
The Miami Herald
LONDON — Lightning struck twice at the Olympics.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt stormed to first place in the 100-meter dash Sunday four years after he turned the Olympic Games' blue-ribbon event into a victory parade.
Bolt saved his celebrating until after he crossed the finish line. He used every inch of his massive stride to beat teammate Yohan Blake and American Justin Gatlin and run the second fastest time in history.
Bolt's 9.63-second clocking was a blink away from his 2009 world record of 9.58, and faster than his original world record of 9.69 from the Beijing Olympics. Bolt became only the second man to defend his Olympic title in the 100 meters, joining Carl Lewis, who won in 1984 in Los Angeles and in 1988, when Canada's Ben Johnson was disqualified after testing positive for a steroid.
Bolt did not have the quickest start, but given his 6-foot-5 height, it was a clean one. From fifth place, he overtook the field halfway through, edged farther ahead with 30 meters to go, then suddenly opened a yawning gap and chugged across the line.
He said he considered hamming it up "like I did in Beijing," but then it occurred to him he might be in world-record range. After leaning through, he pointed to the sky, jogged to the stands and slapped palms with spectators, did a somersault, tied a Jamaican flag around his shoulders and performed his pantomime as an archer pulling back a bow loaded with a lightning bolt.
Blake won the silver in 9.75, and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin of the U.S. took the bronze in 9.79.
"I was with the crowd," Bolt said. "I just ran. I ran hard. I sat in the blocks a little, but my coach had told me to stop worrying about the start. The best part of the race is the end."
Bolt will be favored to defend his title in the 200 meters and in Jamaica's 400 relay, which would give him six golds in two Olympics. He said he's only completed the first step of his goal to become "a legend."
"He will definitely do something nasty in the 200 — if he was going to lose, it would have been in the 100," said Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago.
Bolt ate a pre-race breakfast at McDonald's, but unlike in Beijing, he had no Chicken McNuggets.
"It means a lot because people were doubting me and there was a lot of talk," Bolt said. "I'm glad to prove I'm No. 1. That's what I do. I show up on the day."
Gatlin, first at the Athens Olympics, banished two years later with a four-year doping ban, became the fourth American man to win multiple medals in the event. Tyson Gay, who owns the third fastest time in history, finished fourth by .01 and was crying afterward at missing another chance at Olympic glory.
"The entire world says he's unbeatable, and right now he is," Gay said of Bolt. "I tried my best. I just came up short."
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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