Usain Bolt gets gold, another record in 200 at worlds
RAF CASERT | 8/20/2009, 6:31 p.m.
BERLIN (AP) -- Usain Bolt startled the world again. The Jamaican sprinting great captured the 200-meter gold medal in 19.19 seconds Thursday, yet another world record. His time in the 200 slashed 0.11 seconds off the mark he set last year at the Beijing Olympics and came four days after he broke his 100 record by the same margin.
"I am on my way to being a legend," said Bolt, who gritted his teeth and pointed to the clock as soon as his time flashed.
No one among the near capacity crowd at the 70,000-seat Olympic Stadium disagreed.
"If Queen Elizabeth knighthooded me and I would get the title Sir Usain Bolt, that would be very nice," Bolt said.
Bolt is now 5 for 5 in major sprint events. He won the gold in the 100, 200 and sprint relay in Beijing's Bird Nest, each time with a world record. Now he is one race away from doing likewise in Berlin.
"I was running my heart out," Bolt said. "I got my start right and that was the key."
Alonso Edward of Panama was second, a distant 0.62 seconds behind Bolt. Wallace Spearmon of the United States took bronze.
"Just coming out there, I'm just waiting for the lights to flash 'game over,' 'cause I felt like I was in a video game," said Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth. "That guy was moving - fast."
Bolt's spirits got a boost before the start when teammate Melaine Walker added the world title to her Olympic gold in the women's 400 hurdles, another success for the Caribbean island with outsized performances at the championships. After defending champion Tyson Gay had withdrawn because of injury, Bolt's main competitor stood beyond the finish line - a huge track clock painted in the same colors as his Jamaican jersey.
With a new take on President Kennedy's famous Cold War quote "Ich bin ein Berliner," Bolt pleased the locals with a training jersey saying "Ich bin ein Berlino," referring to the bear mascot of the championships.
His running was even better than his show. From Lane 5, he gobbled up all opposition by the end of the curve, and then let loose those huge arms and legs in a whirl of unmatched speed.
Once across the line, he stuck out his tongue much in the manner of basketball great Michael Jordan. Bolt took off his orange shoes, which had taken him though through eight races in six days, and he started celebrating on the eve of his 23rd birthday.
It was the first sultry evening in Berlin, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, reminiscent of the warm night, exactly one year ago, in Beijing.
"I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke," Bolt said.
During warmups, Bolt faked knocking out Spearmon, with the American happily playing along, taken in by the Bolt aura.
The decathlon was won by American Trey Hardee, taking over from injured teammate Bryan Clay. Despite a slow closing 1,500 meters, Hardee held on for gold, edging Leonel Suarez of Cuba.
Earlier, Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia started their chase for their own doubles. After winning the 10,000 on Monday, Bekele was dominant again and crossed first in his heat of the 5,000.
The Ethiopian great won a long-distance double at the Beijing Olympics. Two golds in Berlin would establish him as perhaps Africa's greatest distance runner. Competing on two hours sleep, Kamel followed his victory in the 1,500 late Wednesday with a win and easy qualification for the semifinals in the 800.
"I did not sleep last night because I was very excited," said the Kenyan-born Bahraini, the son of two-time 800 world champion Billy Konchellah.
Favorites Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia and Abubakere Kaki of Sudan qualified alongside him.
Olympic hurdles champion Dayron Robles had a bad day. The world-record holder had been slowed by a hamstring injury the past few weeks and after hitting the first three hurdles in his semifinal, he cried out in agony, grabbed his leg and slowed to a stop. He had to be helped off the track, leaving the final late Thursday wide open.
In the men's pole vault, another Olympic champion was in trouble. Steve Hooker made it to Saturday's final on a bad leg with his only jump of 18 feet, 6 1/2 inches, but was unsure whether he could continue.
"I am not sure about my appearance in the final," Hooker said. "It is just that I am not healthy."
Defending champion Brad Walker of the United States pulled out of the event before qualifying with a pelvic injury. A day after winning her first 800 world title amid a gender-test controversy, 18-year-old Caster Semenya was unruffled by the dispute when she accepted gold medal on the podium, grinning and singing along with the South African anthem.
Her stunning improvement in times, muscular build and deep voice have raised questions if she is indeed competing as a woman.
"She said to me she doesn't see what the big deal is all about," South Africa team manager Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane said. "She believes it is God given talent and she will exercise it."