Bolt: still fastest man alive

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

TRAF­FIC came to a stand­still and thou­sands stood in muddy pud­dles after a heavy storm, but Usain Bolt had won so it was time to party.

The na­tional green and yel­low colours dom­i­nated streets as peo­ple poured out to watch the Rio Olympics 100m on gi­ant screens.

It was cool and there was a slight driz­zle, but noth­ing could put a damper on the is­land’s fes­tiv­i­ties.

As Bolt struck his fa­mil­iar light­ning pose, Ja­maicans blew whis­tles and horns and banged metal pot cov­ers.

They gath­ered in towns cen­tres like Half Way Tree in Kingston, Sam Sharpe Square in Mon­tego Bay and Fal­mouth, near where Bolt was born and de­vel­oped as a run­ner into the global star.

Traf­fic halted in Sam Sharpe Square with spec­ta­tors stand­ing in pud­dles of wa­ter left from a heavy af­ter­noon shower – with­out even seem­ing to no­tice – as they stretched to see a gi­ant screen on the side of a build­ing.

“The great­est ever,” said one man, who gave his name as Char­lie. “He is the best. He can’t stop run­ning now. He must go on.”

Strangers hugged and cel­e­brated and not a sin­gle per­son ad­mit­ted they had any doubts he would win.

But there was a col­lec­tive gasp as he came out of the blocks be­hind Amer­i­can ri­val Justin Gatlin. By the time Bolt had caught the field at the mid­point, the cheer­ing had started and by the time he crossed the line, the party was in full swing.

“Ja­maica is the land of speed. We have the fastest man and woman in the world,” Shiela Paul said. “We are go­ing to win the two 200m and the two re­lays as well.”

Quest to be­come ‘im­mor­tal’ “Some­body said I can be­come im­mor­tal. Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Im­mor­tal,” said Bolt, who has said this will be his last Olympics.

Bolt said he had been “shocked” at boo­ing di­rected at Gatlin, who has twiced been banned for dop­ing, but in­sisted he had fo­cused on the vic­tory that left him out alone in the 120-year his­tory of Olympic sprint­ing.

Although his 9.81 was way short of his 9.58sec world record, Bolt said he felt happy with the per­for­mance.

He started slowly but reeled in the fast-start­ing Gatlin within 70 me­tres and eased up, thump­ing his chest as he crossed the line. Canada’s An­dre de Grasse took bronze.

“It was bril­liant. I didn’t go so fast but I’m so happy I won,” he said.

Min­utes ear­lier, van Niek­erk timed a light­ning 43.03sec in the 400m, break­ing Amer­i­can Michael John­son’s 17-year-old record.

“I have never seen any­thing like that,” John­son told the BBC. “It is amaz­ing. That was a mas­sacre by Van Niek­erk.” –

Photos: EPA

For the third Olympics in a row, Ja­maica’s Usain Bolt won the 100m race in Rio. At right: After trail­ing fast-start­ing Amer­i­can Justin Gatlin off the blocks, Bolt pulled even at the 70m mark and fin­ished alone in first.

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