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Report05 Aug 2012

London 2012 - Event Report - Men's 100m Final


Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold in the 100m at the London 2012 Olympics (© Getty Images)

Usain Bolt in the greatest 100 metres race ever witnessed proved himself to be the World's undisputed Number One sprinter when thrashing his almost equally talented rivals when it mattered most with a breathtaking victory in 9.63 seconds.

Only the 25-year-old, 6 feet 5 inch giant, has ever run faster with his World record 9.58 at the 2009 World Championships, as he dominated the race from just before the halfway mark to throttle the threats of his opponents, in particular fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake.

Bolt lowering the Olympic and then World record of 9.69 he posted in Beijing four years ago, silenced last year's World champion's gold ambitions who had to settle for matching his lifetime best of 9.75 with the USA's Justin Gatlin the 2004 Games gold medallist finishing third in his fastest ever time of 9.79.

The World record holder having raised a finger to his lips before the start to silence the noise of the highly expectant 80,000 capacity crowd and crossing himself looking up to the sky, then proceeded to produce the second fastest dash ever witnessed down the home stretch of London's Olympic stadium.

Opening a clear gap from Blake and a pursuing pack of six other sprint aces after only 40m, he forged into a clear lead and gritting his teeth proceeded to go even quicker in the final 10 metres.

Unlike at the last Games in China where he shut himself down in the final 20m, on this occasion he wasn't far enough ahead to enjoy the luxury and ran through the line as quickly as he could.

"I was slightly worried about my start," said Bolt recalling the race. "I slipped a little in the blocks. I don't have the best reactions, but I secured it and that's the key.

"My coach (Glen Mills) told me to stop worrying about the start and concentrate on the end because that's my best."

The first sprinter to defend a 100m title since Carl Lewis in 1988, relishing the atmosphere generated by the excited spectators, added: "It was wonderful. I knew it was going to be like this. There wasn't a doubt in my mind it was going to be like this."

Bolt praising his colleague Blake, admitted: "He works harder than me, but I knew what I needed to do and I have great talent. He will do better next time because he was a little bit stressed this time."

In his slipstream Blake his training partner and fancied by many to end Bolt's supremacy, found himself in a struggle to fend off Gatlin, the first of the three USA sprinters to finish who all enjoy an arch rivalry with their Caribbean rivals.

Blake known as "the beast" because of his dedication to training even on a Christmas Day and confident he could win gold, conceded "He is the fastest man in the world and I've got a silver medal. What more can I ask for? To be the second is an honour."

Gatlin was followed home by team-mate and the World's second fastest ever man Tyson Gay who after only returning to competition in June after a year's absence following a hip injury requiring an operation, was a magnificent fourth in 9.80.

Gay who ran 9.69 in Shanghai three years ago but finding the challenge on this occasion a bridge to far, said: "I really tried to do it for my family, man, but I came off short."

Then came another American Ryan Bailey who again equalled the personal best of 9.88 he achieved when leading the heat qualifiers with Churandy Martina now running for the Netherland's and Trinidad's Richard Thompson the 2008 runner up, who both also dipped under 10sec with clockings of 9.94 and 9.98.

The eighth finalist former World record holder Asafa Powell fifth for Jamaica at the last two Games would almost certainly have done so as well. But his hopes vanished 25m from the line when his hamstring, always a problem in recent years, clearly snapped although he did manage to cross the line.

David Martin for the IAAF
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