Bolt First With Two Golds in 200; Leads Jamaican Sweep

Associated Press + More

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 U.S. — with back-to-back 100 golds, and Lewis won his second when rival Ben Johnson was disqualified after failing a drug test.

At the medalists' news conference, Bolt was asked whether Jamaican sprinters are drug-free.

"Without a doubt," Bolt said, repeating that phrase twice more for emphasis. "We train hard. Especially my teammates. ... We work hard. We throw up every day. We get injuries. We have to take ice baths. ... When people doubt us, it's really hard, but we're trying our best to show the world we're running clean."

There have been some setbacks for him along the way, mainly due to minor leg and back injuries that he said were to blame for losses to Blake in the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican Olympic trials. Indeed, Bolt said Thursday he isn't 100 percent healthy now.

Most importantly, those defeats sparked some handwringing back home in Jamaica and elsewhere about how Bolt would do in London.

Turns out, those defeats also drove Bolt.

"Trials was one of the turning moments for me. When I lost, it really opened my eyes. I sat down and really looked. I went to my coach. I said, 'Coach, do I need to be worried?' And he said 'No.' He said, 'Train hard, and you should be OK.'"

That's one of the things about Bolt. He acknowledges that his work ethic isn't the greatest.

He loves the nightlife. He likes to drive fast cars (he's been at the wheel for some minor accidents in Jamaica) and eat fast food (he copped to grabbing meals of chicken nuggets in Beijing, and wrap sandwiches in London, all from a famous chain restaurant).

Unusually tall for a sprinter, the 6-foot-5 Bolt towered over the 5-11 Blake and 5-10 Weir as they posed together with Jamaican flags after their 1-2-3 finish. Bolt uses his long, long, long strides to propel himself past opponents. The sixth-fastest of eight entrants out of the blocks in the 200, he had made up the stagger on at least two other finalists before the turn.

Into the stretch, Bolt was at warp speed, gritting his teeth and pulling away. The only man who had even a remote chance of challenging him was Blake, but Bolt's extra gear carried him home.

By the end, it didn't matter that Bolt let up for his final three steps, taking a look to his left to check on Blake, who also was the silver medalist in the 100.

Bolt's time was exactly the same as three-time individual Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson's when the American set the then-record at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: 19.32. Back then, the thinking was that would stand as the mark for decades. As it is, that number lasted a dozen years.

Then along came Bolt.

His 19.30 in the 200 final at Beijing still stands as the Olympic record — and certainly would have been eclipsed Thursday with a full-fledged sprint through the finish — but Bolt bettered that with a 19.19 at the 2009 world championships, where he also set the current 100 record.

Now he'll try to make it 6 for 6 over the last two Olympics in the 4x100-meter relay, where Jamaica can't count on the injured Asafa Powell, the former world-record holder in the 100 and the anchor man in 2008. Still, with Bolt, Blake and Weir presumably on the squad, there's no question who will be favored. Qualifying starts Friday; the final is Saturday.

"Usain Bolt is truly an inspiration to everybody across the world," said Weir, who like Bolt and Blake is coached by Glen Mills. "And I must say, it's well-deserved."

Is Bolt the best of his era? Absolutely.

Best ever? That's subjective, of course, and fodder for talk-radio drive time. But it's awfully tough to ignore Bolt's titles and times.

There was one world record established at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium on Thursday: David Rudisha of Kenya won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, improving his own standard by 0.10.

"I know people love Bolt," Rudisha said, when asked about being overshadowed by the sport's biggest star. "I'm happy for him, and I'm happy for me."