Even lightning needs a wake-up call to strike again!
Usain Bolt made it a point to say his prayers and look up to the sky before every race including the final, but thanked his Jamaican training partner and World champion Yohan Blake for bringing out the best in him to defend his 100 metres title, in one of the finest races in Olympic history.
“I was like, ‘Come on Usain you gotta beat this guy’. After the trials I sat down with my coach to figure out what is the problem,” said Bolt after beating his own Olympic record with a stunning 9.63.
Bolt said that after reaching the top and with all the praise from everyone around that he was great, he perhaps had lost sight of reality.
“At the trials when Blake beat me twice it woke me up. It opened my eyes. I am giving the medal to Blake, he ran a better race than me,” he said in all humility.
After the false start in the 100 metres in the last World championship and after being beaten by Blake in the Jamaican trials, the world had started to put the doubt in the mind of Bolt himself. He had to prove that he was still the best.
“It is an even greater feeling now that I am No.1 and still the best,” he said, recalling that he was slightly nervous, but the cheering crowd had “made all the jitters go away”.
Bolt became the only man to cross the finish line first twice in the 100 metres in the Olympics, as Carl Lewis was awarded the medal after Ben Johnson was stripped of it following a positive dope test in Seoul in 1988.
He may have won the Olympic and World championships in world record time, but Bolt felt that he was taking the first step now to becoming a legend.
“This was the first step to becoming a legend,” he said.
Bolt said that there was no question of celebration because he had to run the 200 metres.
He said that it was difficult for him to visualise competing in the next Games in Rio in 2016, when he would be 30, but opined that it would be interesting as Blake would be 26 then.
“Blake did a better run than me today. I hope I am still in great shape. I am looking forward to it,” he said about the next Olympics.
Blake himself was quite candid about his silver.
“My second fastest time in my first Olympics, I am over the moon. To be the second fastest man behind Bolt is an honour,” said Blake.
The Athens Games champion Justin Gatlin of the US beat compatriot Tyson Gay, the former World champion by one hundredth of a second, for the bronze, “to be part of history,” and heaped praise on Gay.
“I just take my hat off to him. After what can be a career ending injury, to come back and just come out and drop a 9.80 in the Olympic finals in such a great race shows his competitive spirit,” he said.
Gatlin said that Bolt was the Michael Phelps of athletics. “I want to go out to beat Bolt and Blake, but the best man won on the day. I went out to run my heart out,” said Gatlin.
Asafa Powell, the man who has run the most sub-10 races in history, 87 times to be precise, limped to the finish, and said that he was sure of his compatriots ability. “I knew it was going to be a Jamaica one-two.”