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Olympics 2012: Usain Bolt does it again, wins 200m
1st man to win back-to-back sprint doubles
Question of the Day
Seems rather silly at the moment.
“Two times in a row. World championships, too,” said Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, fifth Thursday in 20 seconds flat. “He can say whatever he wants. … He did all those things.”
And even if Bolt didn’t manage to break his own world records at these Olympics (his 9.63 Sunday was the second-fastest 100 in history, behind only his 9.58 from 2009), he certainly has managed to reinvent sprinting.
Unusually tall for a sprinter, the 6-foot-5 Bolt towered over the 5-11 Blake and 5-10 Weir as they posed together with Jamaican flags after their 1-2-3 finish. Bolt uses his long, long, long strides to propel himself past opponents. The sixth-fastest of eight entrants out of the blocks in the 200, he had made up the stagger on at least two other finalists before the turn.
Into the stretch, Bolt was at warp speed, gritting his teeth and pulling away. The only man who had any possible chance of challenging him was Blake. And that didn’t really materialize.
By the end, it didn’t matter that Bolt let up for his final three steps, taking a look to his left to check on Blake, who also was the silver medalist in the 100.
Still, Bolt’s time was exactly the same as three-time individual Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson’s when the American set the then-record at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: 19.32. Back then, the thinking was that would stand as the mark for decades.
Then along came Bolt.
His 19.30 in the 200 final at Beijing still stands as the Olympic record — and certainly would have been eclipsed Thursday with a full-fledged sprint through the finish — but Bolt bettered that with a 19.19 at the 2009 world championships, where he also set the current 100 record.
Now he’ll try to make it 6 for 6 over the last two Olympics in the 4x100-meter relay, where Jamaica can’t count on the injured Asafa Powell, the former world-record holder in the 100 and the anchor man in 2008. Still, with Bolt, Blake and Weir presumably on the squad, there’s no question who will be favored. Qualifying starts Friday; the final is Saturday.
Is Bolt the best of his era? No doubt about it.
Best ever? That’s subjective, of course, and fodder for talk-radio drive time. But it’s awfully tough to argue against Bolt’s bona fides, his titles and his times.
There was one world record established at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium on Thursday: David Rudisha of Kenya won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, improving his own standard by 0.10.
By Michael P. Orsi
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