Usain Bolt added to his legacy Thursday night in Rio, becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive gold medals in the 200 metres. He finished in 19.78.
The performance came four days after he accomplished the same feat in the 100 metres, giving him an Olympic “triple double” by winning the two events at the last three Games. At 29, the Jamaican sprinter currently holds the world record in both events - 9.58 in the 100 metres and 19.19 in the 200 metres. He wanted to break that 200-metre mark on Thursday, but didn't quite have enough left when he came to the straightaway.
“My body didn’t respond,” Bolt told NBC after the race. “I guess it’s just age. I wanted to run faster. I think it would have helped if I had somebody faster in front of me.”
Andre De Grasse of Canada took silver in 20.02, and Christophe Lemaitre of France won bronze, running 20.12.
Bolt, who says 200 metres is his favorite event, never lost a heat during the qualifying rounds. In the semifinals on Wednesday, he easily shifted down a gear on the homestretch, even laughing with De Grasse as the two approached the finish line. In his slowest 200-metre time to win gold between the Beijing, London and Rio Games, Bolt delivered again in the big moment, the only runner in the field to break 20 seconds, never contested throughout the race.
The Jamaican turns 30 on August 21st, the same day as the closing ceremonies. What was he thinking when he crossed the finish line?
“I was thinking it was my last individual event at the Olympics,” he said.
The man who’s become the main attraction and entertainer in track and field is contemplating his exit, though planning for what he will do after he’s done competing stresses him out, he said. Bolt wants to remain involved in the sport in some way, but probably not as a coach, he said, following his race.
Bolt has now won eight Olympic gold medals, trailing Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis by one for the most ever earned by a track athlete. He will return in the finals of the 4 x 100 relay Friday evening to try and tie the mark.
Great Britain's Adam Gemili came just outside the top three, missing the bronze spot by just three thousandths of a second.