On Sunday afternoon, in one of the most anticipated 100m races in Olympic history, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt reassured the world that he is still the “fastest man” by winning the 100m dash in Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. That’s an average speed of 23.23 Mph and the second fastest time Bolt has ever run; therefore, the second fastest 100m of all time.
No other athlete, since American Carl Lewis in 1988, had repeated as Olympic champion in the 100m or 200m. Bolt became the second to do so yesterday by taking the 100m, and may also become the first to repeat in both sprinting events if he wins the 200m final tomorrow.
Bolt had high hopes coming into London, stating he had planned to run the 100m in 9.4 seconds — a new world record — but although he failed to break his own world record of 9.58 seconds, Bolt demolished a very impressive field of sprinters.
22-year-old Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake was the national champion in the 100m this year and he took silver in the Olympic 100m final with a time of 9.75 seconds, while American sprinter Justin Gatlin — known for being suspended four years for doping — managed bronze with a time of 9.79 seconds. Seven runners went under 10 seconds for the first time in history.
Bolt showed a sense of focus and maturity this year, unlike his signature showboating seen in Beijing. Don’t get me wrong — it was still there — but it happened after the finish line this time, not while the other runners were straining to catch up to him.
Bolt’s amazing physical scale, running stature, and gait has allowed him to become the greatest short-distance sprinter of all time, and arguably one of the most popular gifted athletes in the history of all sports. There’s no doubt he holds a clear spot atop the best Olympic athletes of all time, especially if he goes on to win the 200m tomorrow.
That being said, Bolt’s 100m was a sigh of relief for fans and Bolt himself after somewhat of a dismal training year. As the top dog after the 2008 Beijing Games, everyone was aiming for Bolt — the gold medal winner and world record holder of both the 100m and 200m. Fans who witnessed his dominance today are thanking fellow countryman, friend, and training partner Yohan Blake for waking him up.
Bolt surprisingly exposed vulnerability after losing to Blake at the Jamaican Olympic Trials in July — not just in the 100m, but in the 200m as well. After addressing some back related hamstring issues and fine-tuning his daily routines, Bolt was back in business and the world was on his stage.
But, what puts most viewers at awe, gives some a sense of demand for more. Bolt could have failed but he didn’t, and for that reason, the show goes on; but it’s inevitable the show will only last for so long. With Bolt’s effortless demeanor, you can’t help but hope for the most out of a man who could potentially be the fastest to ever live. An Olympic champion nonetheless, I hope Bolt will find the drive to surpass his own world record in the 100m at least once more, because his 200m world record of 19.19 seconds is going down tomorrow.