Sat | Sep 23, 2017

The Greatest - Bolt sprints to historic third Olympic 100m title

Published:Monday | August 15, 2016 | 8:00 AM
An elated Usain Bolt crosses the line first to claim his third straight Olympic 100m title at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday.
Usain Bolt is congratulated by adoring fans after his 100m victory at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday.
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

Everything stood still. even the lottery draw in Jamaica was delayed, but Usain Bolt hit the jackpot last night, continuing his dominance in the sprints.

He entered the Olympic Stadium track to Earth-moving screams and with arms spread wide, quite like the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city.

He left it in very much the same way that he arrived: on top.

Usain Bolt is the first man to win three Olympic 100m gold medals and now takes his tally to seven, with Jamaica improving to two gold and a bronze after three days of track-and-field action at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"I am happy and proud of myself," Bolt told The Gleaner last night.

"I came here to show the world again that I am the best, and this is a good start."

Justin Gatlin, the determined American - like he did at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships - had to settle for the silver medal. If he keeps collecting silver at this rate, his only rival will be Judas Iscariot himself.

Young Canadian Andre de Grasse, 9.91, followed up his third-place run at last year's World Championships with a bronze medal to raise his stock even further, much to the disappointment of the man he beat to the podium, Jamaican Yohan Blake, who clocked 9.93.

It will not go down as one of his best races. In fact, with Wayde van Niekerk confirming the pace on the Mondo a few minutes earlier with a world record 43.03 run in the 400m, expectations of a faster time were not unreasonable.

Bolt, in golden spikes as bright as his legend, was left with all the work to do at the halfway stage. Gatlin was gone. Like a bat out of hell, he left the blocks in quite a rush, pushing the Jamaican to chase him down, with Bolt even having time to look across at his nemesis before crossing the line.

Kimberly Williams missed out on a medal in the women's triple jump final with her best distance of 14.53m, which came on her last attempt, giving her seventh place behind gold medal winner Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia), 15.17m, Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela), 14.98m, and Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan), 14.74m.

American Allyson Felix looked ominous in her heat against the lady that many consider her biggest threat to the gold medal, Bahamian Shaunae Miller, but two Jamaicans will also be pushing for women's 400m medals at 10:45 p.m. (8:45 p.m. Jamaica time).

Shericka Jackson was impressive and also in disbelief after she crossed the line in 49.83, a big improvement on her previous personal best of 49.99, which she ran on her way to bronze at the World Championships in Beijing last year.

Stephenie McPherson booked her spot with a second-place finish in her heat, running 50.69 to finish behind American Phyllis Francis, 50.31, and ahead of Olha Zemlyak (Ukraine), 50.75.

Christine Day, 51.53, finished fourth in her heat and failed to make the final.

World leader and gold medal favourite Omar McLeod, Deuce Carter, and Commonwealth champion Andrew Riley will contest the 110m hurdles heats at 8:40 p.m. (6:40 p.m.).

Jamaica has three competitors in the women's discus for the first time in Olympic history, and all three - Shadae Lawrence, Tarasue Barnett, and Kellion Knibb - will compete in qualifying-round action today.

Aisha Praught will compete in the women's 3000m steeplechase final at 11:15 a.m. (9:15 a.m.), where she is set to become the first Jamaican to do so, with the men's 400m hurdles heats facing the starter 20 minutes later.

Roxroy Cato runs from Lane 7 in the third heat with Jaheel Hyde following from Lane 4 in the following heat, while Annsert Whyte will run out of lane 1 in Heat 5.

Yona Knight-Wisdom will today become the first Jamaican male to compete in Olympic diving when he competes in the 3m springboard event at 3:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center.

Knight-Wisdom took the silver medal at this year's Diving World Cup and will be hoping for a repeat performance here.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com