Although rivals are nipping at Usain Bolt’s golden heels and he grumbled last week that his schedule at the Rio Olympics was too hectic for him to run world-record times, the lanky Jamaican sprinter remains unequaled at producing stunning performances on the most momentous of occasions.
Bolt reaffirmed his place in sports history Thursday at Olympic Stadium by winning the men’s 200-meter dash and becoming the only man to win the 100- and 200-meter races in three straight Olympics. His time of 19.78 seconds wasn’t the sub-19 time he had been hoping for, but it was enough for him to defeat Andre De Grasse of Canada (20.02 seconds) and Christophe Lemaitre of France (20.12). LaShawn Merritt of the U.S., the bronze medalist in the 400, finished sixth in 20.19 seconds.
It was the second medal in these Games for De Grasse, who competed for USC and was an NCAA champion. He won bronze in the 100, and in the 200 semifinals cheekily pushed Bolt into running a faster time than Bolt had planned. But Bolt had plenty of energy left Thursday and turned the evening into a historic occasion.