The man on the verge of becoming, by his own admission, a legend, was also the coolest man in a capacity Olympic stadium. Playing up to the cameras, Usain Bolt even waved like the Queen when the crowd cheered his name, before the 200m finalists took to the blocks.
At 9.55pm local time, the gun sounded. As per the 100m final on Sunday, cue the ferocity of 80,000 synchronised screaming voices. Usain Bolt, in lane seven, breezed past compatriot Warren Weir, immediately to his right, in what looked like his first five strides of the race. As the bend began to even out, Bolt took not one, not two, but several glances to see if the ‘beast’ was coming.
In line with expectations, he comfortably led at the 100m stage. But now they entered the critical section of the race, seen as a vulnerable area for Bolt – if there is such a thing. Yohan Blake’s superior training meant that the home straight was the designated location of a potential surprise. The questions of whether Bolt could maintain his speed were answered with aplomb. Blake, with all his might, endeavoured to close the gap and although he did marginally reduce it, Bolt was never in any real trouble. The giant Jamaican, took his foot off the gas with metres to spare, crossing the line in 19.32s, equalling Michael Johnson’s victorious Atlanta 1996 time. Blake clocked 19.44s, whilst Weir won bronze with a personal best of 19.84s – a clean sweep for Jamaica. The Jamaican commentary for the race had a hilarious ending of, “Does London have a throne big enough for this man – I think not!”
Bolt becomes the first sprinter to successfully defend both 100m and 200m Olympic titles and it is hard to argue against him being the best track and field athlete ever. Fantastic, great and incredible are just a few, of many superlatives, to describe Bolt. What is clear now is that he becomes a legend. American double Olympic medalist turned BBC pundit Michael Johnson said, “He’s incredible, he’s the type of athlete that comes around once every 15-20 years.”
“This is what I wanted and I got it,” said an emphatic Bolt. There will be questions for him regarding his future but for now, it is time to acknowledge that Bolt has firmly supplanted his name in greatness following tonight’s unique achievement. He is to track and field, what Muhammad Ali is to boxing – one of the greatest.
Categories: Olympics 2012