The Jamaican triumphed as Britain’s Brownlee brothers dominated in triathlon to keep their country ahead of China in the medals race. Meanwhile, an Iranian woman finally won an Olympic medal.
The 29-year Bolt timed 19.78sec to easily beat Canadian Andre de Grasse into second and France’s Christophe Lemaitre into third, both of whom failed to get under 20sec.
Before the race Bolt had said he would go for his world record of 19.19sec. Bolt said it was “a brilliant feeling” to win but he was not happy with his time and indicated he may not run the 200m at the world championships next year in London. “I wasn’t happy with the time, my body just wouldn’t respond in the straight. I’m getting older and my body is ageing. Personally I think this is my last 200 but my coach may beg to differ.”
He also insisted he belonged in the pantheon of all sports legends. “I am trying to be one of the greatest...to be among Ali and Pele. I hope after these Games I will be in that bracket.” A triumph in Friday’s 4x100m relay with Jamaica would give him a ‘triple triple’ -- third straight sweep of the sprint golds -- to bid farewell to the Olympics.
The reigning US 4x100m women’s relay champions ran alone on the track to get a place in the final after being given a reprieve by the IAAF. They were left facing disqualification after a dropped baton exchange between Allyson Felix and English Gardner. Judges ruled Felix had been knocked off-balance by Brazilian runner Kauiza Venancio and allowed a race against the clock.
The Americans managed it, got the fastest time and forced China out of the final. Trinidad-born American Kerron Clement won the men’s 400m hurdles gold, clocking 47.73sec to hold off a furious late challenge from Kenya’s Boniface Tumuti. Turkey’s Cuban-born Yasmani Copello claimed bronze.
Dalilah Muhammad became the first US winner in the women’s 400m hurdles. The fastest woman in the world this year over the distance, blasted out of the blocks and held on to a commanding lead for a deserved gold in 53.13sec.
Sara Slott Petersen of Denmark took silver while Muhammad’s team-mate Ashley Spencer claimed bronze. Defending champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton won the decathlon title, matching Briton Daley Thompson who won twice in 1980 and 1984. “One day, I’m going to have to meet Daley, shake his hand and thank him for giving me something to chase after,” said Eaton. The other American gold came in the shot put, where Ryan Crouser won with a best of 22.52 metres, a new Olympic record.
Rank me among sport’s greats: Bolt
History-maker Usain Bolt said he deserves to be among sport’s all-time greats after romping to a third straight Olympic 200m gold.
With a third consecutive sweep of the 100m, 200m and relay sprints in sight on Friday, the world’s fastest man argued he should be in the pantheon of sporting heroes with Pele, Muhammad Ali and Michael Phelps.
“I am trying to be one of the greatest. Be among Ali and Pele,” he declared in the seconds after the win. “I’ll wait to see what you guys write tomorrow,” the sprint king added. I’m just waiting to see what the media have to say and if they put me in that bracket,” he said when asked how he stacked up against football star Pele and boxing legend Ali.
“I’ve worked all my career, all my life for this moment. Hopefully you can read about me as one of the greatest people in sport, that’s my focus.” Bolt, who has now won a staggering 19 Olympic and world titles, insisted he had run his final individual Olympic race.