This shot of Kingston, Jamaica celebrating in the streets Sunday night was all you needed to see. He did it again.
The he that I’m referring to is Usain Bolt. And what Bolt did again was capture a third consecutive Olympic 100 meter title. Bolt’s 9.81 second victory in Rio made him become the first sprinter ever to win three golds in the event in the history of the Olympic Games.
“Somebody said I can become immortal,” Bolt said during his post-race presser as reported by BBC Sport. “Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Immortal.”
Bolt still has the 200 and 4×1 relay left in what will be his final Olympics. He is set to retire after next season.
Silver medalist Justin Gatlin led over the first 55 meters or so, building drama of a possible upset until Bolt did what he do — reel folks in and spit them back in his wake. Gatlin finished in 9.89 and the Canadian youngster Andre De Grasse got the bronze (9.91).
Considering the ease at which Bolt went through his rounds, I anticipated something in the 9.7-ish range. Oh well.
“I expected to go faster, but I’m happy that I won. I’m here to perform. I did what I had to,” Bolt said.
Did Bolt need the win to secure his place as something akin to a track god? Of course not. But it secured him, as NBC analyst and former sprinter Ato Boldon said on-air immediately after the race, as one of the greatest athletes EVER.
Van Niekerk fastest quarter miler ever
Michael Johnson’s name has been erased from the books — again.
Back in 2008 in the Beijing Olympics, Bolt ran a 200 in 19.30, breaking Johnson’s record of 19.32 that he set in the 1996 Atlanta Games. With that record long gone, Johnson had one thing left to hold onto and that was his 400 record of 43.18. Johnson did have that left.
Running out of what is considered the horrendous Lane 8, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk ran alone, literally since everyone else in the field were behind him on the inside, from the gun to the line in the world record setting time of 43.03 seconds, beating rivals Kirani James of Grenada (silver medal) and American LaShawn Merritt (bronze).
“It’s amazing. I really didn’t care (about being in lane eight). Tonight was just about going out there and executing as well as possible,” van Niekerk said as reported by news.com/au.
Johnson, who covers the Olympics for the BBC as an analyst called it for it was.
“I have never seen anything like that. It is amazing. That was a massacre by van Niekerk.”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dethroned
I woke up Sunday morning a bit sadden. My second favorite women’s sprinter of all-time (behind the great Gail Deavers and ahead of the Williams ladies, Lauryn the 2004 Olympic 100-meter silver medalist and Angela (the four-time NCAA 100 champion) had her stranglehold on the 100 ripped from her Saturday night from fellow countrywoman Elaine Thompson.
Thompson, who had defeated Fraser-Pryce at the Jamaican Olympic trials earlier in the summer, crushed SAFP and the rest of the 100 field in capturing gold in 10.71, reminiscent of Bolt’s coming out party in Beijing eight years ago.
American Tori Bowie got silver (10.83) and Fraser-Pryce earned bronze (10.86).
“When I crossed the line and glanced across to see I was clear I didn’t quite know how to celebrate,” Thompson said according to cnn.com.
- The Athletics portion of the Rio Games opened Friday with Ethiopian Almaz Ayana setting a new world record in the women’s 1,000. Her time of 29:17.45 was 14 seconds clear of the previous mark that was set 23 years ago by Chinese runner Wang Junxi.
- With all of the love for Simone Biles (gymnastics) and Simone Manuel (swimming), the OTHER #BlackGirlMagic moment came in the shot put when American Michelle Carter won the event with a throw of 67 feet, 8 ¼ inches. It was the first time any American woman has won the event. Carter also achieved another first — being part of the first father-daughter medalist of the Olympic Games. Her father, Michael, the former nose tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, won silver in the shot at the ’84 Games.
- Bolt isn’t the only active legend of track and field. Great Britain’s Mo Farah is doing to distance running what Bolt is doing to sprints — dominating. Farah’s greatness was on full display mode Saturday when in the men’s 10,000, an event he also won at the London Games, he was tripped and fell on lap 10 (of 25) and still sprinted to a gold medal in 27 mins,05.17 secs. It was Farah’s third Olympic gold medal.