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Jamaica's Usain Bolt defends Olympic 100m title

08/05/2012 06:31 EDT | Updated 10/05/2012 05:12 EDT
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.

"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.

'Wakeup call'

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.

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.'"

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