Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Day 8 - He Could Go Faster (New 100 meter World Record 9.69s)



Bolt Is World’s Fastest — by a Mile

BEIJING — Usain Bolt celebrated his coronation as the world’s fastest man 20 meters early, throwing out his arms and thumping his chest. But he still obliterated the world record in the 100 meters Saturday night, turning his Olympic gold medal performance into a show of astounding talent.

Bolt could have run far faster than his 9.69 seconds had he run through the finish line, but he sliced 0.03 off his world record anyway. In the end, it was all about Bolt putting on a show for a crowd that has roared for him every time he steps on the track.

When Bolt was introduced at the start of the final, he struck a pose for the camera and smiled mischievously. He did not disappoint once the gun went off. He started strong and sailed away from the field with astonishing ease.

“I came out to make myself proud, and I did just that,” Bolt said. Of his celebration, he added: “It wasn’t planned. I wasn’t celebrating; I was excited.”

In Bolt’s wake, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago grabbed the silver, and Walter Dix of the United States took the bronze.

“It was good to be part of history,” Thompson said. “It is great for him and great for me to be right behind him. I don’t think anyone was going to compete with him when he runs like that.”

Asafa Powell, the former world-record holder who Jamaicans hoped would grace the medal podium along with Bolt, faded at the end and came in fifth, another finish far below his expectations. He did not win a medal in the 2004 Olympics, or at last year’s world championships when he held the world record.

“I was very shocked I didn’t get a medal,” Powell said. “I really wanted to medal. If I would have gotten second, I would have been happy.”

Powell said he was happy for Bolt, his fellow Jamaican.

“He’s the best,” Powell said. “There’s no stopping him. He could have been faster.”

Tyson Gay of the United States, the defending world champion in the 100 and 200, did not advance out of the semifinals, finishing fifth in his heat, 0.02 behind another American, Darvis Patton. Though Gay said his injured hamstring felt fine, he clearly seemed to struggle from having missed six weeks of training.

Gay was injured trying to qualify for the 200 in the United States Olympic trials and had not raced since.

“I don’t really have any excuses; I just didn’t make it,” Gay said.

“I’m pretty upset,” he said. “When I get back to the village it’s probably going to set in.”

Gay’s absence took one of the biggest stars out of the final, but that hardly dimmed the excitement.

Bolt had heightened the anticipation with his spectacular march through preliminary races. In the first round, he got off to a terrible start — his usual weakness — but easily caught up and slowed to a jog late in the race. He ran a 9.92 in the second round while looking around for the last half of the race.

He looked equally dominant in the semifinals and pulled ahead at 60 meters after a decent start. From there, he dialed back his effort again, looking around as he crossed the finish line in 9.85 seconds.

In the final, Bolt was clear of everyone by 50 meters, and with 20 meters to go, he threw his arms wide, looked around and even thumped his chest. As he sailed across the finish line, his nearest competitors were two strides behind him.

“I didn’t know I was going to run so fast,” Bolt said. “But I came out to be a champion, and I was.”

Thompson ran a strong race from start to finish, and Dix closed strong. It was the first final in a major international race for Thompson, who reached only the quarterfinals in the world championships in 2007.

Dix just finished his eligibility at Florida State, where he won the N.C.A.A. meet in the 200 meters and was fourth in the 100, when he ran a 10.22. His 9.91 in this race topped his personal best of 9.95 at the Olympic trials. He finished second to Gay in that race and won the 200 after Gay was injured.

Bolt will also attempt the double in the 200, the race he used to run exclusively until he began the 100 last year.

Patton, who finished eighth, said everyone was overwhelmed by Bolt.

Source

*What a privilege to watch the best 100 meter race ever (6 runners dipped below 10 secs). Just to watch the arrogance of Usain Bolt while finishing about 2-3 meters ahead of his nearest rival was worth it. He slowed it down about 5 meters from finished and obviously he could go faster. It is not impossible for him to run 100 meters in 9.5 secs. What a run, what a race, a worthy winner of Olympic blue ribbon event.

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