As the rain came down in Moscow, the setting for this year’s World Championships seemed braced for ‘Lighting Bolt’ to strike. And unlike at Daegu two years ago, the 26-year-old Jamaican didn’t disappoint on this occasion as he reclaimed his 100m world title with a season best of 9.77seconds.
He was pushed to the finish by 2004 Summer Games champion Justin Gatlin, the man who beat him in Rome in June, but this time, all the American could do was watch as Bolt pulled away in the latter stages to take the gold. Victory was particularly sweet for the six-time Summer Games champion after his shock disqualification from the 100metre final at the 2011 world meet in Daegu due to a false start. That remains the only stain on an otherwise glittering career for Bolt who has won the golden triple (100m, 200m and 4x100m titles) at the 2008 and 2012 Summer games in Beijing and London respectively, and also at the 2009 World Championships.
It wasn’t just a victory for the man regarded as the greatest sprinter in history. It was also a timely boost for a sport that has yet again been maligned with doping scandals in recent months. Two of Bolt’s leading rivals in the 100m, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell failed drug tests less than a month ago. Indeed Powell was among five high profile Jamaican athletes who tested positive for banned substances. In a further blow for Jamaica and the World Championships, defending 100m world champion Yohan Blake withdrew from the biennial meet due to injury. This left Gatlin, no stranger to failed drug tests incidentally, as the only athlete capable of upstaging Bolt. To his credit, the American produced his own season best time of 9.85 seconds but all it could fetch him was silver.
Truth be told, there was no stopping Bolt. The rain might have snuffed out any hopes of seeing the 6ft 5in Jamaican aim for a new world record but it didn’t dampen his trademark pre-race theatrics. As the camera focused its attention on the crowd favourite, Bolt mimed holding an umbrella. Such is his superiority over the event, it’s rather unlikely the outcome might have been any different if he actually ran the race holding one. The unfavourable conditions still didn’t deter him from equaling the eight fastest time of his career.
“I am happy but I wanted to do better," said the man himself. “My legs were sore after the semi-finals, I don't know why, but the world record wasn't on so I came out just to win.”
Spoken like a true winner! And the good news is the 200m and 4x100m events are still to come.
Pic courtesy –
Lightning Bolt pose - www.7rt.org
2nd pic - wallpaperstock.net