- Associated Press - Sunday, August 5, 2012

LONDON — Beat Usain Bolt at your peril. He is bound to get you back, when it matters most.

Any questions that Yohan Blake raised by beating the defending 100-meter Olympic champion during the Jamaican trials a month ago were emphatically answered with the second-fastest time in history on Sunday. And it leaves Bolt one step away from achieving his ultimate goal — becoming a “living legend” by defending his Olympic 100- and 200-meter titles.

Next up he’ll race in Tuesday’s heats of the 200 meters, his favorite event.

“Right now I need this to become a legend. That’s my main event. That’s what I do. I’m not going to let myself down,” Bolt said.

“When Yohan Blake beat me, twice, it woke me up, opened my eyes. It was like he come, knocked on my door and say, ‘It’s an Olympic year, are you ready?’,” Bolt said.

Question answered. Bolt easily won the defining race of the London Olympics.

He was slow out of the blocks but once he got his giant stride going he was unbeatable once again, leaving Blake and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin in his wake.

“I knew it was going to be like this. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind it was going to be like this,” Bolt said after setting an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds, just .05 of a second outside his world mark.

World champion Blake equaled his personal best with 9.75 and Gatlin took bronze in 9.79.

The time was the second fastest in history and it showed the mark of the man that some said he didn’t look as imperious as he once was.

Unlike his showboating and coasting during a then world-record run at Beijing four years ago, Bolt was all business.

He was not even distracted when a fan threw a plastic bottle toward the start when the sprinters were in the blocks, about a second before the start of the race.

Bolt ran on, then knelt and leaned his head downwards, kissing the track before standing and assuming his trademark “To The World” pose — pointing both fingers in the air for the first time during the Olympics. The crowd roared and later responded with chants of “Usain, Usain.”

Blake celebrated with Bolt, the pair embracing in front of Jamaican fans in the jam-packed 80,000-seat stadium.

Bolt has been troubled by a stuttering start since he was disqualified for a false start in the final of last year’s world championship, which brought Blake to the fore. In London, he proved that even with a slower kick out of the blocks, he still is in a class of his own.

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