RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) – Five moments that have defined Usain Bolt’s career following his victory in the 100m here Sunday:
Bolt arrived at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the newly minted world record holder, having clocked a blistering 9.72sec at a meeting in New York in May.
When it came to the competition in China he was simply unstoppable, setting a world record in the 100m of 9.69sec before breaking Michael Johnson’s world record of 19.32 to win the 200m.
At the Berlin World Championships in 2009, Bolt defied logic by improving upon his astounding performance in Beijing the previous year, bettering his world records in both the 100m and 200m.
He sliced more than a tenth of a second his previous world best, scorching across the line in 9.58sec to take gold.
Four days later he followed it up with a scintillating display in the 200m, clocking 19.19sec.
Both records have remained intact in the seven years since.
Bolt arrived in London chasing an improbable ‘double-treble’, aiming to successfully defend all three of his Olympic titles won in Beijing.
The first leg was achieved with victory in the 100m, where he and training partner Yohan Blake finished well clear of a field containing Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. Bolt’s time of 9.63sec remains the fastest ever run at an Olympics.
The 200m saw a Jamaican clean sweep of the podium, with Bolt winning in 19.32sec ahead of Blake and Warren Weir.
The treble was duly completed in the 4x100m relay in a world record 36.84sec.
Bolt headed to the Beijing World Championships in August 2015 with signs that his crown might be slipping. Injuries had appeared to have left him looking vulnerable for the first time in seven years, and long-time rival Gatlin was the man in form with the season’s fastest time.
For many, the thought of Gatlin, twice convicted of doping offences, unseating Bolt was an uncomfortable proposition. World athletics chief Sebastian Coe said the prospect made him “queasy.”
Yet when he needed it most, Bolt was able to find an extra gear, winning in 9.79sec ahead of Gatlin, second in 9.80sec.
Despite a patchy season hampered by injuries to his troublesome left hamstring, Bolt was able to draw on his phenomenal ability to raise himself for the big occasion in Rio. With the crowd roaring his every move — and booing his rival Gatlin — the champion stormed over in 9.81 to become the first man to win three consecutive 100m titles.
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