Star Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt wrote his name in the history books, winning his third consecutive Olympic title in the men’s 100 metre event at the Rio Games here. The multiple Olympic champion powered to victory in 9.81 seconds on Sunday. It was however, one of the tightest races that Bolt has run during his legendary career.
American star Justin Gatlin — Bolt’s biggest rival in the competition — was the leader until the closing stages before the Jamaican started to pull away, and had to settle for the silver with an impressive 9.84 seconds. Andre de Grasse of Canada took bronze with a time of 9.91 seconds.
Sunday’s result saw Bolt win his third successive Olympic gold in the iconic men’s 100m event following his triumphs at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Games in London. It also cemented his status as one of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen. This is also the first step towards Bolt’s target of repeating his 100m, 200m and 4x100m victories at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.
As it happened 100m race: Usain Bolt
0658 hrs IST: Usain Bolt wins 100m final in 9.80 secs! Wins his third gold medal in Olympics in 100m
0655 hrs IST: Usain Bolt will start in lane 6. 100m race is starting now
0645 hrs IST: 15 minutes before the ‘showman’ takes the stage. It will be Usain Bolt’s third 100m final at the Olympics
0630 hrs IST: The wait is just 30 minutes more! Usain Bolt vs Justin Gatlin.
0555 hrs IST: Here is the start of men’s 100m final which start at 0700 hrs IST
Lane 1 – Trayvon Bromell (USA)
Lane 2 – Akani Simbine (RSA)
Lane 3 – Justin Gatlin (USA)
Lane 4 – Jimmy Vicaut (FRA)
Lane 4 – Usain Bolt (JAM)
Lane 5 – Andre de Grasse (CAN)
Lane 6 – Youssef ben Meite (CIV)
Lane 7 – Yohan Blake (JAM)
0549 hrs IST: Justin Gatlin clocks 9.95 secs to enter men’s 100m final. Yohan Blake qualifies too with the timing of 10.01 secs
0544 hrs IST: It’s not over yet. Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake are running in semi-final three
0541 hrs IST: Usain Bolt qualifies for the final of men’s 100m final after winning the semi-final with a timing of 9.86 secs
0540 hrs IST: Drama before the race begins. Bahrain athlete disqualified for false start
0531 hrs IST: France’s Vico wins the first semi-final. He qualifies for the final automatically. Maiti is the second
0530 hrs IST: The first semi-final is now live. Nine athletes will compete for 2 place from this semi-final
0516 hrs IST: Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake will look to try to stop Usain Bolt from repeating his gold medal wining effort from Beijing and London
0515 hrs IST: Usain Bolt will run the semi-final and try move one step closer to winning the third gold medal
Usain Bolt is in the Village for close to a week now and as his competition date nears, world’s fastest man is gunning for not one, not two but all three medals at Rio 2016 Olympics. Bolt checked into the Village on July 3 and the star athlete has maintained a low profile ever since his arrival. The Jamaican athlete gave the opening ceremony a miss and is focussed on defending his 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles he clinched at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
Village-bound for the “longest duration”, Bolt can’t wait to get on the track and run and compete. “I just can’t wait to run. It’s been boring just sitting around training all the time. I just want to run. I think it’s the longest I have been in a village as normally we get in four days before or five days before but been here a week now. I’m just excited to run. I just want to go there and compete and I’m looking forward to it,” Bolt said in an interview to CNN.
Gunning to become the first athlete to win all three titles at three Games on the trot, Bolt execuded confidence and feels he has what it takes to win the events he is participating in. “I’m going to win the 100m. I never try to predict times, I avoid that because you never know. I’ll win all three gold [medals], there’s never anything else for me when it comes to a championship.”
As Usain Bolt churned down the Olympic track, his main rival was trying to get in front of a TV monitor to catch a quick glimpse of the race. Justin Gatlin missed the Jamaican’s first-round heat. That’s OK, the American sprinter has seen plenty of Bolt to know exactly what to expect. Bolt is a huge favorite to win an unprecedented third straight Olympic title in the 100 meters on Sunday. And that’s despite pulling out of the Jamaican trials last month because of a sore hamstring and wishing he had more races coming into Rio de Janeiro.
It certainly hasn’t changed his focus.
“It’s always to win. That’s what I’m here for,” said Bolt, who was 3-for-3 in races at the 2008 Beijing Games and again four years later in London. “That’s what I’m going for. My focus is to go out there and do my best, and execute well.”
Bolt posted the fourth-fastest time in the first round (10.07 seconds), with Gatlin leading the way (10.01).
Lately, Gatlin is the only one who’s been remotely close to keeping up to Bolt. He nearly beat Bolt during the 100 final at the world championships in Beijing last August, but faltered at the end. The 34-year-old Gatlin was neck-and-neck with the Jamaican, but over-strided with about 15 meters left and went into his lean too early. That paved the way for Bolt to capture gold.
As a dozen scantily clad Brazilian Samba dancers gyrated on to the stage, rocking peacock-style headdresses and glittery thongs, Usain Bolt was not about to be intimidated or upstaged.
Instead, the world 100 metres record holder hoisted his arms in the air and began moving to the Samba beats, delighting hundreds of journalists and photographers seeking a little sparkle to light up the Rio Games.
The contrast to every other press conference at the Rio Olympics was stark, showing once again that very few people on the planet transcend sport or command the world’s attention in the way Bolt does.
Yet the scale of media interest in the 29-year-old has soared to new heights at Rio. More than 530 media members registered to attend the Jamaica team press conference on Monday, according to sportswear company Puma, Jamaica’s team sponsor.