Bolt rebounds to his world-beating best
Usain Bolt reaffirmed his credentials as the world’s top sprinter and most marketable sports star after retaining his world 200m crown in the fourth fastest time ever.
The 25-year-old Jamaican arrived in Daegu as the reigning world and Olympic champion, and world record holder, over both the 100 and 200m.
But the unchallenged king of world sprinting in recent years was unable to defend his 100m title after being sensationally disqualified from the final on Sunday.
Bolt went into brief hiding after that catastrophe, but re-emerged for the 200m in full knowledge he had made a dreadful mistake, also seemingly re-energised and absolutely ready to retain his crown.
He did so in imperious manner, blasting to a staggering 19.40sec despite being slowest out of the blocks. Only Bolt, twice, and American track legend Michael Johnson have run faster.
American Walter Dix (19.70) took silver and France’s European champion Christophe Lemaitre bronze (19.80) at a packed Daegu stadium on Saturday.
“I ran as hard as possible,” Bolt admitted, adding that it was his first ever outing in lane three, where the bend into the final stretch is tight and demands more technique.
“It was a little bit difficult for me,” he said. “I had to run a more technical race and I gave my all. It was perfect technique but it’s all I had.”
He added: “Personally, I think it would’ve been a little bit faster (if I was in lane 5/6) because it’s more fluent.
“But I ran close to the world record, it was a wonderful run and I congratulate myself for running so well!
“I wasn’t in the best shape so I wasn’t expecting it.”
Bolt also welcomed the fact that the 200m was becoming a more competitive event despite still missing out on the massed ranks that assemble for the 100m.
“I’m happy everybody is getting more competitive because the 200m is my favourite event and I look forward to competition,” he said.
Rather ominously for his rivals and wannabe usurpers of his Olympic titles, Bolt predicted an “amazing season” next year when London hosts the 2012 Games.
“The Olympics are going to be a big thing for me, I’m going to be really serious,” said the Jamaican, who stormed to the sprint double in then-world record times at the Beijing Games in 2008.
He then matched his feat the following year at the Berlin worlds, setting new marks of 9.58 and 19.19sec in another remarkable display of sprinting.
Bolt put his terrible 100m false start down to “anxiety” but now has the chance to further redeem that mistake by also snagging gold in the men’s 4x100m relay on Sunday.
“I felt so good, I was ready to go, I was excited and I was just ready to run,” Bolt said of his build-up to the blue riband event.
“I was telling myself ‘let’s go, let’s go’, so I think anxiety got to me.
“But it’s a joy to go with these guys (in the relay). I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure they are going to do well.”