Usain Bolt, the consummate showman in a sport that badly needs its credibility and entertainment value restored, again showed why one short sprint and one tall sprinter can captivate millions of people around the world.
The lanky Jamaican on Sunday became the first man to win the 100-meter dash in three consecutive Olympics, blazing to the finish line at Olympic Stadium in 9.81 seconds. He went past American Justin Gatlin as if Gatlin were standing still, which he certainly wasn’t. Gatlin was second in 9.89 seconds, and Andre De Grasse of Canada -- who won NCAA titles in the 100 and 200 while competing for USC -- was third in a personal-best 9.91 seconds.
Bolt soaked up the crowd’s attention before the race, as he always does, animated while others are quiet, outwardly expressive while others are straight-faced and focused. He pointed to the camera, gestured to the adoring crowd and performed his usual routine of putting his index finger over his mouth and then, as he settled into the blocks, crossing himself and pointing his index finger to the sky.