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No question who was the star of Olympics show - American winners only opening act for Bolt’s 200m win

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The United States' Ashton Eaton celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's decathlon.
Dalilah Muhammad from the United States celebrates after crossing the line to win the gold medal in the women's 400m hurdles.
United States' Ryan Crouser displays his gold medal for the men's shot put.


It was a terrific Thursday night for American track athletes in Rio. Ashton Eaton won his second straight decathlon title, Ryan Crouser set an Olympic record in the shot put, Dalilah Muhammad became the first American woman ever to win gold in the 400-metre hurdles, and Kerron Clement won the corresponding race for men.

Opening acts, each of them.

The American television network providing the coverage, NBC, was waiting for one man, and one man only: Jamaica's Usain Bolt and his attempt to win his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 200-metre to match his third straight gold in the 100.

Over and over, NCB showed camera shots of Bolt warming up or just waiting for his race to begin.

Eaton's achievement was the sort that have put past winners on cereal boxes, the decathlon gold medallist earning the unofficial title of greatest athlete in the world. Last Thursday, coverage of his victory seemed strangely muted, even though there was more suspense involved than there was for Bolt's race.

We get it. Bolt's a star - one of the greatest Olympians ever. The spotlight is his oxygen. And he delivered a terrific performance.

Yet we're not sure if it was the fourth replay of his race, the super 'slo-mo' of him giving his signature pose, his pause to take selfies with fans or his interview wish that he'd been faster that made us say, OK, we're done. Time to move on.

QUOTE: "Many people here will be telling their grandchildren they saw the great Usain Bolt in person." -NBC's Tom Hammond.

QUOTE: "He said he wanted to cement his legacy. I don't think it needed any cement." - Hammond.

QUOTE: "It rained here. But the only Bolt was on the track." - Hammond.

QUOTE: "He simply has had no equal in terms of getting it done when the spotlight is at its greatest." - NBC's Ato Boldon.

We get it! WE GET IT!