On Monday, Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain. How appropriate then that Jamaica’s favourite son, Usain Bolt, walked away with the London 2012 Olympic 100m gold medal after another blistering performance to add to his already legendary repertoire. Bolt retained his title as Fastest Man on Earth, whilst breaking his own Olympic record in the process with a time of 9.63s. Fellow Jamaican training partner and friend, Yohan Blake, finished in second place matching his personal best of 9.75s.
In the semi-finals, Bolt demonstrated his formidable quality which had only been glimpsed in 2012, as he accelerated away from the field after 50 metres before seemingly cruising over the line in 9.87s. Justin Gatlin, the Athens 2004 gold medalist, gave food for thought as he set the fastest time of the heats with 9.82s.
The anticipation of the final was incredible. Official prices of the top-end seats were a whopping £750 but they were still all snapped up. All of the eight finalists had run sub-10s in 2012. Furthermore, it was the first 100m Olympic final were all four fastest sprinters in history were present. The wise man’s money was on Bolt, the defending champion and world record holder, but as Michael Johnson claimed, a new world record was not even being contemplated due to Bolt’s new-found vulnerability. In theory, the most famous race on the planet was open to any of the eight finalists.
At 9.50pm, the world’s fastest men settled into their blocks. The silence was deafening as you could hear a pin drop in the 80,000 Olympic stadium. With no room for error – one false start results with instant disqualification – the race commenced at the first attempt, greeted with an eruption of thousands of screams and roars. Asafa Powell exploded out of the blocks and then slightly stumbled. Bolt’s start was a little sloppy but lanes three to five, accommodating Tyson Gay, Blake and Gatlin were inseparable. Once the 60m point in the race arrived, Bolt turned on the afterburners and opened up a breathtaking gap, crossing the line with a new Olympic record and the second fastest time in history – 9.63s. Blake took silver, equalling his personal best with 9.75s, whilst USA’s Gatlin edged out compatriot Gay to take the bronze with a 9.79s personal best. All finalists ran under 10 seconds apart from the injured Powell, who pulled up with 35m to go.
Make no mistake – regardless of Team GB’s success, 5th August was always rubber stamped in the diary as the most significant London 2012 Olympic event, and it did not disappoint. The media pounced on stories about Bolt’s vulnerability but his performance demonstrated exactly the opposite. At 100m, and when it counts, Bolt is untouchable. Does this mean the men’s 200m a foregone conclusion? Absolutely not. Turning to the comments of the legendary Michael Johnson. “You heard Bolt say that Blake trains much harder than he does. That’s alot more significant in 200m than it is in 100m,” said the four-time Olympic champion.
However, by becoming the first man to defend a 100m Olympic title since Carl Lewis in 1988 – and dominate both 2008 and 2012 finals as he has done – he has joined an elite club ensuring that lightning does, in fact, strike twice.
Categories: Olympics 2012