Usain Bolt often bills himself as a "living legend." On the night of Aug. 9 in London, Bolt backed up his billing by capturing the Olympic 200 meters and becoming the first athlete to repeat as double Olympic sprint champion.
"It's what I came here to do. I'm now a legend," Bolt said. "I'm also the greatest athlete to live. "I've got nothing left to prove."
Less than an hour before the 200-meter final, David Rudisha set the first world record of the 2012 London Olympic track meet in the 800 meters. Undaunted, Bolt was not going to be upstaged by anyone.
He led his favorite event almost from beginning to end and had a large enough lead to slow down at the finish line, bring his left index finger across his mouth and signal the crowd to be quiet.
His gesture should silence those critics who questioned his form prior to the Olympics. But he stood no chance of quieting the 80,000-capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium, which went berserk as Bolt made good on his promise of winning went it counts most. They knew that they had just witnessed something special. "I've done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title," Bolt said. "Back-to-back for me, I would say I'm the greatest."
His 19.32-second winning time was only .02 seconds more than his winning mark at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Just like in Sunday's victory in the 100 meters, his junior training partner Yohan Blake finished second, and Warren Weir came in third, making it a full Jamaican medal sweep before Wallace Spearmon of the United States crossed the line in fourth place. "The guy is just on another planet right now," Spearmon said of Bolt.
Bolt kissed the track before striking his customary trademark "To the World" pose, pointing his index fingers upward in honor of what he had accomplished.
Like Bolt, Rudisha was very confident. He predicted a world record and delivered with a dominating display of front-running to capture the 800-meter title.
From the starting gun, Rudisha took off with his lengthy strides and immediately grabbed the lead and steadily increased it as many of the year's best middle distance runners could never close the gap.
He finished the race in one minute, 40.91 seconds, cutting .10 of a second off the mark he set in 2010.