NEWS

Usain Bolt captures 200m gold medal in Jamaican sweep

08/09/2012 05:04 EDT | Updated 10/09/2012 05:12 EDT
Usain Bolt proved once again that no track athlete can touch him at the Olympic Games.

Bolt won the men's 200-metre event on Thursday, clocking in a time of 19.32 seconds to lead a Jamaican sweep.

It wasn't just another gold medal for Bolt. The 25-year-old star set two historic marks en route to his fifth career gold.

He becomes the first man to ever win the 200 at consecutive Olympics, and is the only athlete to sweep the 100 and 200 events at back-to-back Games.

"Bask in my glory," Bolt proclaimed. "I've got nothing left to prove. I've done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title. Back-to-back for me, I would say I'm the greatest."

Two other Jamaicans joined Bolt in the top three. Yohan Blake finished second in 19.44, with Warren Weir taking bronze at 19.84.

Bolt, the 200 world-record holder, has never tasted defeat at the Olympics, going a perfect five-for-five in all of his events — a number he celebrated by performing five push-ups a few metres past the finish line.

He defended his 100-metre title on Sunday in an Olympic record 9.63.

"The guy is just on another planet right now," said American Wallace Spearmon, who finished fourth in 19.90.

Bolt sets pace

As usual, Bolt was in a joyful mood before the competitors entered the starting block. A fist pump with a track official was followed by a slow wave to the crowd, a playful gesture in mimicking the Queen of England.

Once in the block, Bolt set the pace after the sprinters rounded the curve.

Blake, who ran the second fastest 200 ever last year, appeared to be gaining in the final 50 metres, but that’s when Bolt turned it on, leaving no doubt who the gold medallist would be.

With victory in hand, Bolt let up in the last few metres, putting his index finger to his mouth as if to silence his critics.

Bolt admitted to feeling stress on his back and didn’t want to push through all the way to the line. Instead, he was simply content to cement his legend status.

"That was for all the people that doubted me," Bolt said. "I was just telling them, 'You can stop talking now because I am a legend.'"

In Beijing Bolt set the world records in the 100 (9.68) and 200 (19.30) events. He lowered both marks — 9.59 and 19.19, respectively — during the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

Overall, Bolt has won seven of the last eight major individual sprint titles in the 100 and 200 at Olympics and world championships — setting a four-year streak of unprecedented dominance. The only exception was a race he never got to run when Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the 100 final at last year's world championships, a race Blake won.

Bolt didn’t come into these Games with much momentum. During the last two years he’s endured injuries, the disqualification, 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.

As with American swimming great Michael Phelps, who finished with 18 golds and broke the all-time record with 22 career Olympic medals in London, many questioned whether Bolt would be upstaged by his rivals, specifically Blake.

Like Phelps, the Jamaican answered his critics by remaining the best athlete his sport has ever produced.

Bolt will try for another sweep when the Jamaicans will take part in the 4x100 relay, which starts Friday.

"It's all about the 4x100 now," Bolt said, "to have some fun and go out there and do our best."

U.S., Jamaican women set for relay showdown

The United States and Jamaica reached the final in the women's 4x100 metre Olympic relay Thursday night.

The Americans easily won their heat in 41.64 seconds, with Tianna Madison, Jeneba Tarmoh, Bianca Knight and Lauryn Williams carrying the baton.

The Jamaicans weren't nearly as smooth. Sherone Simpson and Schillonie Calvert nearly botched the exchange between the second and third legs. With Samantha Henry-Robinson running the opening 100 metres and Kerron Stewart serving as the anchor, the Jamaicans finished in 42.37 seconds, edged at the line by Ukraine.

The final is Friday. Both high-profile teams failed to medal in Beijing in 2008, the Americans faltering in the prelims and the Jamaicans botching a handoff in the final. It was the lone sprint the Jamaicans didn't win in China.

The U.S. also failed to medal in Athens in 2004.

The final will feature each country's high profile sprinters, all of whom are medallists: Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter for the United States, and Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.

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