Even self-proclaimed “living legends” like Usain Bolt need to have a bit of fun at the Olympics.
Yesterday, newly crowned repeat double sprint champion Bolt would be counting on his fellow Jamaican sprinters to get the 4x100m relay team into today’s final, where he will be favored to clinch his sixth Olympic title spread over two Games.
The individual pressure is off him after he won the 200m on Thursday night to become the first athlete to repeat as double Olympic sprint champion.
“It’s all about the 4x100 now, to have some fun, and go out there and do our best,” Bolt said.
With the way Jamaican sprinters have been dominating — with five of six medals in the 100m and 200m — it seems more a matter of passing the baton correctly than stretching for maximum speed.
Get dual silver medalist Yohan Blake to hand off to Bolt and all seems set for a fitting finale to the Bolt show at the Olympics.
Pushing 26, and with younger men closing in on him, Bolt will reassess his goals and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games don’t figure too much right now.
“It’s going to be a hard mission. I think I’ve had my time,” Bolt said. “In life, anything’s possible, but it’s going to be a hard reach. I’m not looking that far. I’ve made myself a legend, I’m going to enjoy it right now.”
There is plenty to enjoy.
On Thursday, he dominated his favorite event almost from the starting gun and had enough of a lead to slow down at the line, bring his left index finger to his lips and signal a “ssssshhh” that was broadcast around the globe.
His second gold of the Games should certainly silence the critics who claimed he was out of form ahead of the Olympics after losses to Blake at the Jamaican trials.
“That was for all the people that doubted me,” Bolt said. “I was just telling them: ‘You can stop talking now because I am a legend.’”
However, he did not stand a chance of hushing the 80,000-capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium, which went wild as Bolt delivered on his promise of winning when it counts most.
They knew they were witness to something unique.
“I’ve done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title,” Bolt said. “Back-to-back for me, I would say I’m the greatest.”
His 19.32-second winning time was just 0.02 seconds outside his winning mark at the Beijing Olympics.
Just like the previous Sunday’s victory in the 100m, his junior training partner Blake stayed closest, while Warren Weir made it a full Jamaican medal sweep, before Wallace Spearmon of the US crossed in fourth place.
“The guy is just on another planet right now,” Spearmon said of Bolt.
Bolt kissed the track twice, before striking his trademark “To the World” pose, pointing both his index fingers upward to show what he had achieved.
He can still make it six out of six at two Olympics if he leads his nation to victory in the relay.
His win in the 100m seemed to take a weight off his shoulders for his more favored event, the 200m.
Thursday’s warm evening and a shot at the double-double brought out the swaggering Bolt of old. Wearing a yellow cap backwards and joking with the volunteer looking after his kit, he made the pre-race activities feel like a small-town Caribbean weekend track meet.
Next to him, Blake was all intensity and concentration, but it was not enough to upstage Bolt like he did at the Jamaican trials.