Bolt makes a case for 'legend' boast
08/10/2012 12:00 AM
01/24/2014 1:58 PM
LONDON – Usain Bolt heard all the talk.
About the two surprising losses in Jamaica's run-up to the Olympics.
About how he isn't as fast as he used to be.
So after leaving the rest of the field in the Olympic 200-meter final far enough behind that he could afford to ease up over the last few strides, Bolt raised his left index finger to his lips and told his critics to shush. Bolt held that pose as he crossed the finish line in 19.32 seconds Thursday to become the only man in history to win gold medals in the 100 and 200 at consecutive Summer Games.
"That was for all that people that doubted me, all the people that was talking all kinds of stuff that I wasn't going to do it, I was going to be beaten," Bolt said. "I was just telling them: You can stop talking now, because I am a legend."
Yes, when the stakes are the biggest, the spotlight the brightest, Bolt is as good as gold.
As good as there's ever been. Just ask him.
"I've done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title. Back-to-back for me," he said. "I would say I'm the greatest."
That's tough to argue.
Bolt added Thursday's 200 title to the 100 title he won Sunday in 9.63 seconds – the second-fastest time in that race, behind only his own record of 9.58 – duplicating the 100-200 victories he produced at the Beijing Games four years ago.
Call it a double double.
"The 200 spoke for itself. He's incredible. Doing some special things," U.S. men's track and field coach Andrew Valmon said.
In Thursday's 200, Bolt led a Jamaican sweep, with his training partner and pal Yohan Blake – who upset Bolt in the two sprint finals at Kingston – getting the silver in 19.44, and Warren Weir taking the bronze in 19.84. That was more than a half-second slower than the champion, a man Weir called "my bigger brother."
"Definitely, he's a legend. He motivated me a lot," Blake said. "It's his time. It's going to be my time soon."
In all, Bolt has won seven of the last eight major individual sprint titles in the 100 and 200 at the Olympics and world championships, a four-year streak of unprecedented dominance. The only exception was a race he didn't get to run: Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the 100 final at last year's world championships, and Blake got the gold.
"The guy is just on another planet right now," Wallace Spearmon, the American who finished fourth in 19.90, said between sobs of disappointment.
Afterward, Bolt had plenty of energy left, dropping to the track to do five pushups – one for each of his Olympic gold medals so far. Ever the showman, he bent down and kissed the track, then did it again a few minutes later, and also grabbed a camera from someone in the photographers' well and trained it at the group clicking away.
Bolt's stated goal heading to London was to become a "living legend," and, well, he's making a pretty good case for himself, even if International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said a few hours before the 200 final that it's too early to make such determinations.
"The career of Usain Bolt has to be judged when the career stops," said Rogge, who criticized the Jamaican four years ago for showboating by slapping himself on the chest at the finish of the 100.
"Let him participate in three, four Games, and he can be a legend," Rogge added. "Already he's an icon."
Bolt, who turns 26 this month, sounded as if he might not last until the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
"It's going to be a hard mission," he said, noting with a chuckle that Blake and Weir are only 22.
"I'm going to be 30; they're going to be 26. Both of these guys are running extremely well right now, and I think I've had my time."
In Beijing, he became the first man to win the 100, 200 and 4x100-meter relay in world-record times at a single Summer Games.
In London, he became the first man to win two Olympic golds in the 200, and he did it consecutively, too. He's also only the second man – joining Carl Lewis of the United States – with back-to-back 100 golds, and Lewis won his second when rival Ben Johnson was disqualified after failing a drug test.
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