By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Usain Bolt came to the 2016 Rio Olympics with one objective: become the first man in history to win the triple-triple, a gold medal in the 100m, 200m, and 4×100 relay in three consecutive Olympic Games. On Thursday, August 18th, at the Olympic Stadium in Engenho de Dentro, the world’s fastest man dominated the 200m final with a time of 19.78 seconds and is one final step away from the historic feat.
Bolt had set high expectations for the 200m, telling reporters all week how badly he wanted to break his own 200m world record of 19.19 seconds set at the world championships in Berlin in 2009.
At the start of Thursday’s race, it was clear the 6-foot-5 Jamaican superstar was going all out to break his own record. He went hard from the very beginning, storming his way out of the blocks. By the time the runners made their way around the bend, Bolt was all alone.
While he fell short of the world record, at 19.79 seconds, Bolt easily defeated the field of talented runners, ahead of Canadian Andre de Grasse, who came in second at 20.02 seconds, and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, who took bronze in 20.12 seconds in a photo finish with a heartbroken Adam Gemili from Great Britain.
Coupled with his 100m victory on Sunday, August 14th, Bolt’s 200m win puts him in rarified air. No man had ever won both the 100m and 200m in more than one Olympics. Bolt has now accomplished the feat in three consecutive Olympics (Beijing, London, and Rio).
“I don’t need to prove anything else. What else can I do to prove to the world I am the greatest?” Bolt told reporters after the race. “I am trying to be one of the greatest. Be among (Muhammad) Ali and Pele. I hope to be in that bracket after these Games.”
On Friday, August 19th, in what Bolt has claimed will be his last Olympic race, he will have a chance to add one more achievement to his legacy and complete the unheralded triple-triple, as he anchors the Jamaican team in the 4×100 relay which the Jamaicans had won in 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London.