Beat Usain Bolt at your peril. He is bound to get you back, when it matters most.
Any questions that Yohan Blake raised by beating the defending 100m Olympic champion during the Jamaican trials a month ago were emphatically answered with the second-fastest time in history on Sunday.
It leaves Bolt one step away from achieving his ultimate goal — becoming a “living legend” by defending his Olympic 100m and 200m titles.
Next up, he’ll race in today’s heats of the 200m, his favorite event.
“Right now I need this to become a legend. That’s my main event. That’s what I do. I’m not going to let myself down,” Bolt said. “When Yohan Blake beat me, twice, it woke me up, opened my eyes. It was like he come, knocked on my door and say: ‘It’s an Olympic year, are you ready?’” Bolt said.
Bolt easily won the defining race of the London Olympics.
He was slow out of the blocks, but once he got his giant stride going he was unbeatable once again, leaving Blake and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin in his wake.
“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 said after setting an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds, just 0.05 seconds outside his world record.
World champion Blake equaled his personal best with 9.75, while Gatlin took bronze in 9.79.
The time was the second fastest in history and it showed the mark of the man that some said did not look as imperious as he once was.
Unlike his showboating and coasting during a then world-record run in Beijing four years ago, Bolt was all business.
He was not even distracted when a fan threw a plastic bottle toward the start when the sprinters were in the blocks, about a second before the start of the race.
Bolt ran on, then knelt and leaned his head downwards, kissing the track, before standing and assuming his trademark “To The World” pose — pointing both fingers in the air for the first time during the Olympics. The crowd roared and later responded with chants of “Usain, Usain.”
Blake celebrated with Bolt, the pair embracing in front of Jamaican fans in the jam-packed 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
Bolt has been troubled by a stuttering start since he was disqualified for a false start in the 100m final of last year’s world championships, which brought Blake to the fore. In London, he proved that even with a slower kick out of the blocks, he is still in a class of his own.
“I executed and that’s the key. I stopped worrying about the start. The end is what’s important,” Bolt said. “My coach told me to stop worrying about the start and concentrate on the end, because that’s my best.”
He left nobody in any doubt about that.
“The entire world says he’s unbeatable and right now he is,” said Richard Thomson of Trinidad and Tobago, who finished seventh in the final.
The first seven finishers all had sub-10 second times. Asafa Powell was injured and finished well off the pace in eighth.
“That’s bad because that’s a strong point in our relay team also,” said Bolt, reflecting on the third gold medal he has to defend during the closing weekend.
However, the one-two finish by the Jamaicans further confirmed the domination of the Caribbean nation in its sprint rivalry with the US.
However, the US did get their first gold of the athletics program in London when Sanya Richards-Ross held off a late charge by Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu to win the women’s 400m.