Usain Bolt, fastest man on earth, lets his legs do the talking

Aug 6, 2012
Gavin Mortimer

No time to celebrate as the Jamaican sets out to defend his 200m and 4x100m relay crowns too

Michael Steele

USAIN BOLT stunned his doubters into silence when he destroyed his rivals to win the 100 metres final last night. Not only did the Jamaican retain his crown but he set a new Olympic record for the event: it took him just 9.63 blistering seconds to streak down the Olympic Stadium track to become once more the fastest man on the planet.
Going into the Olympics there had been doubts about Bolt. Having lost his world championship title last year, Bolt suffered defeat to Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials and then withdrew last month from a meet in Monaco because of a hamstring problem. His opponents smelled blood. The media talked of an athlete in decline. Bolt bided his time.

"There was a lot of people saying that I wasn't going to win, there was a lot of talk," Bolt said after last night's winning run. "I've said everything on the track. All people can do is talk."

Despite his historic performance, there'll be no celebrating from Bolt just yet. With the 200m and 4x100m relay to come, the Jamaican is eyeing two more golds as he seeks to become the first sprinter in Olympic history to ever defend all three titles. Asked if that would make him a sporting legend, Bolt replied: "That's my ultimate goal, that's it for me."

Truth is Bolt is already a legend. His winning time of 9.63 was the second fastest in history, behind the 9.58 he ran in winning the 2009 World Championship title in Berlin. On Sunday night he was in a field containing the four fastest men in the history of the sport, and Bolt made them look pedestrian. Blake finished second in 9.75, a good two yards down on Bolt, and American Justin Gatlin crossed the line third in 9.79.

Bolt hasn't ruled out a trip to Rio in four years' time in a bid to become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic 100m titles. "I hope I'm there," Bolt said. "I'm going to be 30, but I think I'll still be in good shape. Blake will be 26, so it should be interesting."

One man unlikely to be present at the 2016 Games is Ben Ainslie. The 35-year-old Briton became the most successful sailor in Olympic History early on Sunday afternoon when he edged out the Dane, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, in a thrilling tussle for gold in the Finn class race. The pair played out a nail-biting duel at the back of the fleet knowing the gold medal was at stake. Ainslie triumphed to win his fourth consecutive gold medal, but then played down talk of his going to Rio.

"I'm starting to fall apart as I get older," he said. "I've been pushing myself to the limits and my body doesn't like it. You never say never but I'd be very surprised if you see me in Rio."

As Ainslie celebrated his gold medal in Weymouth, at Wimbledon another display of high drama was unfolding as Andy Murray produced arguably the greatest performance of his career to demolish Roger Federer in the final of the men's tennis competition.

Four weeks to the day since Federer had crushed the Scot's hopes of winning the Wimbledon title, Murray took his revenge with a clinical straight sets victory to secure Britain's first tennis gold in the men's singles since 1908. "It's been the best week in my tennis career by a mile," said Murray after his 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory.

"In the Wimbledon final, I had chances in the second set to break and I didn't get them," Murray added. "Today I converted those chances, and that gave me the momentum for the rest of the match."

Murray and partner Laura Robson later won silver in the mixed doubles. That was also the colour of the medal won by Christine Ohuruogu in the women's 400m race, unable to repeat her triumph in the same event at Beijing.

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