LONDON (Reuters) - Jamaican Usain Bolt etched his name deeper into Olympic folklore by completing an unprecedented sprint double in successive Games with a smooth 200 meters victory on Thursday in the race he calls his “pet” event.
The world’s fastest man, whose imperious performances in London have blown away any doubts that he deserves the unofficial title of greatest ever sprinter, stopped the clock at 19.32 seconds, the joint fourth quickest time ever run.
Bolt holds the world record with an eye-popping 19.19 at the Berlin world championships in 2009.
The showman again put compatriot and younger rival Yohan Blake, the pretender to his sprint throne, firmly in place and has now matched his stunning Beijing 100 and 200 crowns four years ago following his shorter-dash victory on Sunday.
Blake, as he did in the 100 behind his friend and training partner, took silver in 19.44 and Warren Weir completed a Jamaican podium sweep with bronze in 19.84. All three share the same coach - Glen Mills.
Bolt crossed the line with his finger to his lips before doing a handful of press-ups on the track. Then, taking a photographer’s camera, he took snaps of the crowd and Blake who was posing as “The Beast”, the nickname Bolt afforded his rival.
“I’ve got nothing left to prove. I’ve showed the world I‘m the best,” said the athlete who has lit up track and field since turning his prodigious talent into global dominance.
“This is my moment. I’ll never forget this. I did what I wanted. I came out of a rough season and did what I had to do.”
The 25-year-old, who came into the Games with lingering doubts over his fitness after a far from vintage season, was the first man to win two 200 Olympic golds and, as he did in 2008, he will look to complete the treble in the 4x100 relay.
Bolt’s winning time matched that of American Michael Johnson who set a then world record of 19.32 to win Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996.
Bolt lowered that to 19.30 in Beijing before his 19.19 a year later.
On a warm and windless evening with the electric atmosphere inside an expectant Olympic stadium already raised by Kenyan David Rudisha’s 800m world record less than an hour earlier, Bolt, relaxed and smiling in the preliminaries, flew out of the blocks.
Drawn towards the outside in lane seven, Bolt glided around the bend and kicking powerfully down the home straight was always ahead of Blake who could not match his exploits in the Jamaican trials when he beat Bolt in both sprint events.
“It’s great. Of course. I want to thank Usain,” said Blake.
“This is my first Olympics. I can’t complain.”
Weir edged Wallace Spearmon for third but the American hailed the performances of Bolt and Blake.
“Those guys are on another plant right now, congratulations,” said fourth-placed Spearmon, hiding his disappointment at again missing out on a medal after being disqualified from third place in Beijing for stepping out of his lane.
Editing by Ed Osmond