"The showman is back."
Those were the words of Universal Sports commentator Tim Hutchings after Usain Bolt won the 100-meter men's final at the Diamond League track meet on Thursday in Oslo, Norway.
Bolt's 9.79-second mark was his second sub-9.8 time in as many meets, evidence that his slack effort last month in Ostrava was something of a weather-induced anomaly.
Just as telling, Bolt performed with all of his usual flair—flirting with the camera, stoking the crowd and, of course, striking his signature archer pose. It was a far cry from his conspicuously subdued demeanor last week in Rome, after which he admitted to some uncharacteristic pre-race jitters.
And from the looks of it, Bolt will need every bit of that trademark confidence and legendary closing speed to repeat as Olympic champion in the 100.
That's because, impressive as Bolt was, the most eye-opening performance of the day came courtesy of countryman Asafa Powell.
Powell started well, led through the first 60 meters or so and finished with a 9.85—his season best and the fourth-best time in the world this year (the top two belong to Bolt and the third belongs to yet another Jamaican, Yohan Blake).
Those who would dismiss Powell as old, damaged or receding best rethink their stance. Powell proved he deserves a spot alongside Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake on the shortlist of potential Bolt beaters.
And so the lessons learned today are twofold.
1.) All appears well in the world of Usain Bolt.
2.) If Usain Bolt's worst day and Asafa Powell's best day just so happen to coincide in London, the latter is absolutely capable of taking gold. At the very least, Powell seems to have a real shot at his first career individual medal.
— Jamaica swept the podium, with Lerone Clarke taking third in 10.10 seconds.
— No American ran in the final. American record holder Tyson Gay is slated to run the "B" heat at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on Saturday. His agent told the Associated Press it will be a "low key" tune up as Gay continues his careful recovery from hip surgery.