RIO: Usain Bolt roared into Olympic historical past on Sunday, capturing an unprecedented third consecutive 100m crown to verify his place within the pantheon of the best athletes the world has ever seen.
The 29-yr-previous Jamaican legend, competing in his last Olympics, powered over the road in 9.81sec, vanquishing drug-tainted American rival Justin Gatlin who took silver with Andre De Grasse of Canada claiming bronze.
Gatlin, who had been booed by the Rio crowd as he was launched, crossed in 9.89sec with De Grasse simply behind in 9.ninety one.
Bolt galloped away in celebration after an outstanding win, basking within the adulation of the stadium and even taking selfies with followers throughout his lap of honour.
He then delighted the followers together with his conventional “lightning bolt” pose as reggae blasted out of the stadium sound system.
“It was sensible. I did not go so quick however I am so completely happy I gained. I advised you guys I used to be going to do it,” Bolt stated.
The victory left Bolt standing alone within the one hundred twenty-yr historical past of sprinting within the trendy Olympic video games. No different athlete — man or lady — has ever gained three consecutive particular person Olympic dash titles.
It additionally leaves Bolt on monitor to finish an unimaginable “triple-triple” of clinching 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles for a 3rd consecutive Olympics.
“Any person stated I can grow to be immortal. Two extra medals to go and I can log off. Immortal,” Bolt added.
Bolt, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, had already earned the appropriate to be considered the best sprinter within the historical past of athletics after accumulating extra golds on the monitor than anybody else.
However the Jamaican’s newest triumph erases any lingering doubts that he deserves to be ranked alongside the likes of Muhammad Ali, Pele and Michael Jordan because the type of as soon as-in-a-era athlete who transcend their sports activities.
Bolt’s win — his 18th gold in Olympic and World Championships since 2008 — averted what may need been a public relations catastrophe for the drug-tarnished world of monitor and area.
A corruption scandal involving the game’s former rulers, who have been accused of accepting bribes to cowl up constructive drug checks, and an investigation which alleged an elaborate state-sponsored doping system in Russia have plunged monitor and area into the worst disaster in its historical past.
A gold medal for Gatlin on Sunday would have made uncomfortable viewing for a lot of — world athletics chief Sebastian Coe amongst them — who’ve advocated that serial doping offenders must be banned for all times.
However these fears have been swept away by the smiling, laughing determine of Bolt, for therefore lengthy the game’s most charismatic showman.
Gatlin, who has served two drug bans throughout his lengthy profession, made a strong begin to lead over the primary 50 metres.
However as quickly as Bolt’s head got here across the midpoint the American was in hassle and the defending champion surged house round a metre away from the sector.
Bolt later stated he was dismayed by the reception given to Gatlin.
“I used to be stunned by it — it was surprising the primary time I heard booing in a stadium. Nevertheless I simply targeted on my job and obtained it accomplished,” Bolt stated.
Gatlin in the meantime put a courageous face on his defeat — the eighth out of 9 conferences with Bolt.
‘On the age of 34, to race these younger guys and nonetheless make the rostrum feels so good,” stated Gatlin, who would have grow to be the oldest Olympic 100m champion in historical past had he gained.
“We work one year a yr to be right here for 9 seconds,” the 2004 gold medallist added.
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