(Colombo Lankapuvath) Usain Bolt has never been shy about saying he wants to become a legend. Coming from almost any other athlete, that declaration might sound arrogant. Coming from Bolt, it's the mission statement for a happy journey he's sharing with the world, stride by stride and gold medal by gold medal.
Bolt retained his status as the world's fastest man, overcoming an imperfect start Sunday to blaze away from perhaps the best 100-meter field ever assembled at an Olympic start line. With cameras flashing and a delicious tension lifting fans at Olympic Stadium to their feet, Bolt flew to the finish in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds, .05 off his own world record. It also pulverized the clouds that followed him after he finished second to compatriot Yohan Blake in the 100 and 200 at Jamaica's Olympic trials.
"This is the first step for me," Bolt said of earning legend status, though he was modest after becoming only the second man to win the 100 in two consecutive Olympics. The first was Carl Lewis in 1984 and 1988, but Lewis got the second gold after Ben Johnson was disqualified for doping.
Blake won the silver medal in a personal-best 9.75 seconds, followed by 2004 gold medalist Justin Gatlin of Pensacola, Fla., in a post-drug ban best time of 9.79. Tyson Gay of the U.S. was fourth in 9.80, perhaps the fastest man who never won an Olympic title. Ryan Bailey of Long Beach was fifth in 9.88.
"It's tough, but I have no excuses," said Gay, who cried on the track. "I gave my all."
Gatlin, who lost a world record to his doping sanction, said Bolt and Blake had "put on a great show.… It just feels good to be back."
But the moment clearly belonged to Bolt, who assumed his "Lightning Bolt" pose with the Jamaican flag draped around his shoulders.
"This really means a lot because a lot of people doubted me. A lot of people were saying I wasn't going to win," Bolt said. "There was a lot of talk."
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