|Usain Bolt: still the fastest man in the history of the world and now a two-time defending Olympic champ. (US Presswire)|
The most impressive field in the history of the 100 meters saw the most impressive sprinter in the history of the world win it again.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt lived up to his name, hype, reputation and expectations Sunday night as he ran the second-fastest 100-meter dash in the history of the world, an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds to give him the gold.
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It's the second straight gold for Bolt in this event, and by winning he becomes the only other man aside from Carl Lewis to defend the title of Fastest Man in the World at back-to-back Olympics.
Bolt's Jamaican teammate and rival, Yohan Blake, who was the defending world champion in the 100 (he won it at the World Championships in 2011, when Bolt was disqualified for a false start), took silver. Blake crossed in 9.75 seconds. That's blazing for anyone not named "Bolt." American Justin Gatlin -- who had the best 100 time in the semifinals of any sprinter -- was awarded bronze thanks to his 9.79 dash.
The other two Americans in the race -- Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey -- were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Bolt's gold may come as exciting-but-expected news to casual track fans, but the truth is, he was hampered by injuries and inconsistency the past two years. Basically, he wasn't running or acting like himself. That is: he wasn't completely dominant and removed from the rest of the field in his runs. He also wasn't the loose, confident, cocky figure the world grew to knew at those legendary '08 Games.
But in London, it all returned for Bolt, who ran in lane 7 Sunday night. He playfully showed for the cameras before his race by dancing, spinning air turntables and twiddling his signature two fingers, like a runner galloping down a track. He then signaled the cross, gave a kiss-and-point to the sky, and lined up in his block.
Bolt didn't have the best start -- which has always been a "problem" for him -- but by the 60-meter mark, the fastest sprinter in world history peeled from the pack to secure himself for first place.
This 100-meter final field was special. Consider: all eight sprinters had torched the race in less than 10 seconds this year. That is unprecedented. And sprinters who finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in this final did it in faster times in those spots than any previous race in history.
And yet, Bolt beat them all so comfortably. Bolt told the BBC after the race that he was worried about a false start, like his from the World Championships last year. That of course wasn't a problem, as Bolt is once again a champion and still one of the most popular sports stars in the world.