After Usain Bolt won the 100m race in a close call on Saturday, he put an end to questions regarding his fitness once and for all. Now, days later, he’s left no doubt at all about his supremacy and prowess as an athlete, winning the 200m in 19.55 seconds this morning to claim his 10th gold medal.
In a move attributed to his younger days, Bolt actually decreased his speed as he came upon the finish line, pointing to his chest in acknowledgement of his winning status. Justin Gatlin, who was originally the favorite to win the races at the ongoing IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, came in second. Despite the deceleration by Bolt, Gatlin still could not come close to the Jamaican’s time and ended the race at a time of 19.74 seconds. Thus far, Bolt’s 19.55 seconds is the best this season and his fastest since the record he set in 2012. The .19 lead over Gatlin is a marked improvement on his marginal .01 win in Sunday’s 100m race.
Coming into the World Championships Bolt’s best time was 20.13, while Gatlin’s best time during the same period was 19.57. The Jamaican had been struggling with an injury ever since he won the 2013 World Champions in Moscow and claimed his third consecutive 200m title. On the other hand, Galin had not lost a race since 2013, and some experts have stated that Gatlin may have psyched himself out before the big race on Sunday since he ran a much better time earlier in the day in a race that did not include Bolt. South African Anaso Jobodwana took the bronze in a time of 19.87, which is a national record for him.
Bolt’s victory today has led him to an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal in the 200m and with only the 4×100 relay on Saturday remaining to face off, Bolt is now 2-0 in Beijing against Gatlin.
Following his victory, Bolt was seen resting when Gatlin dragged a bench over to the Jamaican and claimed a seat next to his rival. Bolt extended a hand in greeting and Gatlin shook it, while both men held on to their respective country’s flags. The two rivals then held a brief conversation, and Bolt later gave an interview to Lewis Johnson on Universal Sports about their encounter. The Jamaican said the conversation was mainly about their mutual exhaustion.
After leaving Gatlin, Bolt took a drama-filled victory lap. A cameraman on a Segway managed to do what all Bolt’s rivals could not and brought down Bolt, crashing into him hard. Bolt took the incident in stride and strode away with minimal injuries, joking that his rival was involved.
“I am fine. I have a few cuts. But it’s nothing I have never done to myself in training. I feel like Justin Gatlin had something to do with it. Maybe.”
Following the race, Bolt gave special thanks to his coach, Glen Mills, and his German doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, for helping him to regain top form. He also joked that he may retire following the Rio Olympics. If this does indeed pan out, his presence will be sorely missed by the sport and its fans.
[Photos Courtesy of Patrick Smith & Michael Steele/ Getty Images]