LONDON – Move over Carl Lewis. Usain Bolt has chased down legendary status.
Bolt became the only man in Olympic history to defend both the 100-meter and 200-meter gold medals, coming in at 19.32 seconds, edging Jamaican teammates Yohan Blake and Warren Weir. Crossing the finish line with a finger to his lips – as if shushing his critics – Bolt officially silenced anyone who doubted his standing among the greats in track history.
Blake captured silver in 19.44, while Weir took bronze at 19.84 for the Jamaican sweep in the event. The United States’ Wallace Spearmon took fourth place at 19.90.
Blake took Bolt down in the 200 meters in Jamaican qualifying in June, 19.80 seconds to 19.83 – a result more shocking than the defending Olympic gold medalist’s 100-meter loss to Blake in those same trials. It was Bolt’s first 200-meter final defeat since a meet in Brussels in September of 2007. Following that meet in 2007, Bolt went on to smash the 200 world record at the Beijing Games, and dominated his signature event until Blake’s explosion in the Jamaican trials.
And while his failure at those trials became a cattle call for Bolt’s critics, he wasted no time once again establishing his dominance in London. Bolt edged Blake in the 100 meters to defend his gold in the event, setting a new Olympic record while hitting the line at 9.63 seconds. That time gave Bolt the three fastest times in the history of the 100m dash.
Bolt was only the second man in history to defend his 100-meter Olympic gold, joining the United States’ Carl Lewis, who pulled the feat in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games. Already one of the best in history, his defense in the 100 positioned him to be the only man ever to defend both the 100 and 200 Olympic titles. Which dovetailed nicely with Bolt’s aim in these Games – to become a legend.
“That’s my ultimate goal,” Bolt said of obtaining legendary status. “That’s it for me.”
Bolt ran 19.30 to set the world record in the 200 meters in 2008, beating the mark of 19.32 set by the United States’ Michael Johnson in Atlanta in 1996. He lowered the record to 19.19 in August of 2009. Blake’s best in the event heading into Thursday was the 19.26 he ran in September of 2011.