Jamaican sprinter wins in 19.78 seconds ahead of Canada's Andre de Grasse and Christophe Lemaitre for France but conditions dampen world record attempt
Usain Bolt romped to victory in what he says is his last Olympic 200m race on Thursday night (17 August), but finished in 19.78 seconds, more than a half-second short of his own world record — the one he said he really wanted to break.
He glanced to his left to check out the clock just before he crossed. The time came up, and when Bolt saw it, he tilted his head back and yelled, stuck his hands wide open as if to say "Why?" then tore off the No.6 sticker that was on his right hip.
But the after-party was great, as usual. With chants of "Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt" ringing out, Bolt paraded around the track with his flag, reggae music blaring in the background, then dropped to his knees and kissed the track before giving his iconic 'Lightning Bolt' pose.
His record in his favourite race still stands, though, at 19.19. He set it in 2009 at the world championships, breaking the mark he'd previously set the year before (19.30) when he made his debut in Beijing.
"It's something that you work so hard for, so that when the moment comes, winning is just relief," he told the BBC. "Obviously so much could have gone wrong. So to win today, the feeling is one of relief.
"I wasn't happy with the time and my body did not respond to be down the straight. But I'm getting older, so I am pleased to get the gold medal. That is the key thing.
"I didn't feel any extra pressure because I don't pay attention to the media before races. I just focus on what I need to do. I came out here and I get the job done."
He continued: "I don't know about the 200m in the future. Next year at the World Championships it will likely just be the 100m, even though my coach keeps trying to convince me otherwise. But personally for me, I think this is the last time I will run the 200m."
Bolt, at 29 years and 363 days of age, surpassed Michael Johnson, (28 years and 323 days, in 1996) as the oldest gold medallist in this event. De Grasse added a silver medal in the 200m to his bronze in the 100m. It was Canada's first medal in this event since 1928, when Percy Williams won it.
Eaton can't be beaten
Ashton Eaton retained his title by tying the Olympic record in the decathlon, Ryan Crouser led an American one-two in the shot put with a new games record, and Kerron Clement delivered another gold for the USA in the 400m hurdles.
World champion Eaton finished with 8893 points, matching exactly the Olympic record after 10 lung-busting events. He finished third in the final event, the 1,500m, to win gold from France's Kevin Mayer on 8,834 points. Canada's Damian Warner took the bronze.
Eaton has now won successive Olympic and world titles to confirm his status at the best all-around athlete in the world.
Confident Clement cruises to victory
Kerron Clement of the USA won the 400m hurdles gold medal on Thursday (18 August), clocking 47.73 seconds ahead of Kenyan Boniface Mucheru Tumuti who took silver, 0.05 behind, and Turkey's Cuban-born Yasmani Copello, the European champion, who won bronze with a time of 47.92.
Such was his confidence that Clement had his mother, Claudette, bring a star-spangled banner from home. "We had a flag at home and I told her to bring the flag. I knew I was going to win," Clement said.
However tough his task was, it was made easier when Javier Culson, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist from Puerto Rico, was disqualified for a false-start. Clement has been decorated enough, with two world championship gold medals, but the Olympic title eluded him. Now he has gold to go with his silver from the 2008 Beijing Games. Four of the finishers produced national-record times, including Tumuti and Copello.
Fly, fly, fly Dalilah
USA's Dalilah Muhammad went out hard and held on strong to win the women's 400m hurdles gold medal in 53.13 seconds.
European champion Sara Slott Peterson of Denmark took silver in 53.55 on Thursday, and USA picked up another bronze medal with Ashley Spencer storming home to finish third in personal best 53.72.
Crouser puts record shot
Ryan Crouser won the shot put gold medal with an Olympic record 22.52m, leading world champion Joe Kovacs in a 1-2 finish for USA. Crouser, 23, recorded the three best throws of his career, starting with 22.22 on his second attempt to take an early lead and improving it to 22.26 before his biggest shot of the night on his fifth attempt.
Kovacs, who had the season-leading mark heading into the final, took silver at 21.78 and world indoor champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand won bronze at 21.36. omasz Majewski, who won the Olympic gold for Poland in 2008 and 2012, was a distant sixth with a mark of 20.72 after opening with two fouls.
Two shots at relay for Felix and Co.
Earlier in the day, the USA women's 4x100m relay team failied to get the baton round in the morning's heats, but the Olympic champions successfully protested that Allyson Felix was bumped by a Brazilian runner in her handover. They had another chance to qualify with a solo run — and managed to record the fastest qualifying time of 41.77, faster than China's 42.70 who missed out on the final.
With 3½ days of competition to come, the United States already has 20 medals at the Olympic track stadium, including 6 gold. In one burst late Wednesday which they've dubbed the "awesome hour," the US team added six medals.
"We were laughing and joking out there," said English Gardner, who ran the anchor leg. "Our coach said before we went out there, 'It's just like practice, just the whole world will be watching. Be patient, stay patient with each other, and just do your job."