Usain Bolt has become just the second man in history to win back-to-back 100m titles after running an extraordinary 9.63sec to smash his own Olympic record and run just 0.05sec off the world record.
In the fastest Olympic final ever, Bolt’s training partner Yohan Blake finished second in a personal best 9.75sec with 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin third, also in a personal best 9.79sec.
The first seven over the line – Tyson Gay was fourth in 9.80sec – all went sub-10sec with former world record holder Asafa Powell breaking down during the race and limping over the line.
Bolt admitted there was still some lingering doubts about his start given he had been disqualified in the final of last year’s world championships for breaking.
“I was happy, when I went out in the first round I felt I can do this,” he said. “I was slightly worried about my start. I didn’t want to false start again so I sat in the blocks a bit.
“I didn’t get the best reaction in the world, but I executed. that was the key. The coach said don’t worry about it, the best part of your race is at the end.
“People can talk, all they can do is talk but I tell you people, when it comes to the championships, that is business for me, and I brought it.
“It was wonderful. I knew it would be like this (out here). I knew it would be loud and it would be great. I could feel the energy.”
He also praised his younger teammate, predicting the 22-year-old’s day would come.
“You have to give credit to Blake. He works harder than me but when it comes to business I know what to do. He is going to do better next time.
“Last time in the worlds there wasn’t a lot of names. Now there were a lot of names, so he’s going to do better next time. He beat almost everybody.”
Blake was proud to have won the silver behind the greatest sprinter in history.
“This is the fastest man in the world and you have to give him thanks for motivating me. A silver medal, what more can I ask for,” he said.”
Bolt came to London wanting to become a legend and in his eyes he had to equal the efforts of the great Carl Lewis who won back-to-back 100m titles at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.
There had been concerns about the world record holder’s fitness after he was defeated by Blake at the Jamaican Olympic trials.
But after seeking treatment for a back/hamstring problem, Bolt was confident he was physically ready to do something special and he didn’t let the 80,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium down.
Bolt made a statement in the semi-final and gave a hint that he was back to his brilliant best.
It was the Bolt of old, getting to his rivals early and putting them away by the 70m mark and then jogging to the line to stop the clock at 9.87sec.
Gatlin ran the second-fastest time in Olympic history to qualify into the final, winning the first semi-final in 9.82sec while Blake had also looked good taking the other semi-final in 9.85sec.