The Jamaican sprint star successfully starts his historic triple title defence
Usain Bolt made history on Sunday night by becoming the first track athlete to win three Olympic gold medals in a single event as he successfully got his triple title defence underway.
The Jamaican sprint star had proved his intentions by cruising to a 9.86 semi-final win and he returned to the track just over an hour later to run 9.81 in the final to beat USA’s Justin Gatlin and Canada’s Andre De Grasse.
It was almost a repeat of last year’s World Championships podium, except it was missing USA’s Trayvon Bromell who had bagged joint bronze with De Grasse in Beijing 12 months ago but finished eighth this time around.
With the Rio crowd already at fever pitch with the anticipation of the 100m final, fans were further whipped up into a frenzy when Wayde van Niekerk smashed Michael Johnson’s world 400m record and then it was Bolt’s turn to do his thing.
Powering his way past his rivals, the now seven-time Olympic gold medallist clocked a season’s best to again deny Gatlin, who ran 9.89, and De Grasse, who clocked a 9.91 PB, while his fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake was fourth with 9.93.
“Somebody said I can become immortal,” Bolt commented after successfully defending the first of his three titles, with the 200m and 4x100m relay yet to come. “Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Immortal.”
On the actual race, he added: “It was brilliant. I didn’t go so fast but I’m so happy I won. I told you guys I was going to do it.”
Earlier on and Britain’s CJ Ujah had agonisingly missed out on the 100m final by just thousands of a second. Clocking 10.01 for fourth in his semi-final, he was just behind Bromell who clocked the same time and claimed the spot. Ujah’s team-mate James Dasaolu also missed out after running 10.16 for sixth.
In other semi-final action, USA’s 2012 Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix cruised to take her 400m race in 49.67 ahead of Shaunae Miller of Bahamas with 49.91, while Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won her race in a 49.83 PB from USA’s Natasha Hastings. Three Americans will be in the final as Phyllis Francis won the first semi-final in 50.31 from Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson.
Like in the men’s 100m, there will be no GB athletes in the women’s 400m final as both Christine Ohuruogu and Emily Diamond didn’t make it through, running 51.22 and 51.49 respectively.
Britain’s Robbie Grabarz was among the 15 athletes to qualify for Tuesday’s high jump final where he will be joined by Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bohdan Bondarenko, but his team-mate Chris Baker missed out after failing his three attempts at 2.29m.
» Click here for further coverage of Sunday evening’s athletics action, including Wayde van Niekerk’s world record run