Bolt Makes It 3 in A Row and Going for Another Triple

Sprint double world record holder Usain Bolt defeated Justin Gatlin in the 100m Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro last night to become the first man to win back-to-back gold in the event over three Olympic Games.

The blue ribbon event has been titillating the world all season as it waited with bated breath to see yet another match-up between Bolt, the Jamaican and Gatlin, the American who has been focusing once again on ending Bolt’s reign on the track and by that token ending Bolt’s goal of winning three straight Olympic 100m titles. A couple of weeks ago, Bolt promised to let the Americans feel his wrath for disrespecting him. And he did, perhaps not with the fury that was expected by many but by a margin enough to show Gatlin who rules.

Bolt sent a warning signal in the second semi-final by clocking 9.86secs, a stroll by his standard. Gatlin responded in the third semi-final with 9.95, a far cry from the still-standing world lead 9.80 he clocked earlier in the season.

Eighty minutes later the moment of truth came as the eight finalists, including two Jamaicans and two Americans, walked through the tunnel onto the track as they were introduced to the cheering fans in the packed stadium. On entry, Bolt acknowledged the roar and screams of the crowd, which could be heard from Rio to Florida to Kingston, but Gatlin was unusually calm as they booed him, walking out slowly and not pacing about in the blocks like a caged beast ready to break free.

At the sound of the gun, Gatlin and Akani Simbine of South Africa were the quickest from the blocks with Bolt at the back. Midway in the race, Gatlin was storming away some two meters ahead of Bolt, but the global icon quickly caught the flying American and glided past him, then slapped his chest as he crossed the line in 9.81 (the slowest time of his three Olympic victories) and continued running, smiling and waving to the boisterous fans and blowing kisses before getting close to touch hundreds of them. Gatlin managed to hold off the charging Andre de Grasse of Canada to take silver in 9.89 while the Canadian clocked a personal best 9.91, for the bronze.

Rounding out the field were Bolt’s compatriot Yohan Blake the London 2012 double silver medalist, fourth in 9.93, his fastest 100m time in four years; Simbine, fifth in 9.94; Ben Youseff Meité of the Ivory Coast, sixth in 9.96; European record holder Jimmy Vicaut of seventh in 10.04; and 2016 World Indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell of the USA, eighth in 10.07.