Usain Bolt made beating the world's fastest men look easy, winning the men's 100-meter dash in Olympic-record time as if there was never any doubt of his supremacy.
But the truth is that there was some doubt heading into the 2012 Olympic Games.
Bolt wasn't the reigning world champion heading into London. That honor belonged to his teammate and rival, Yohan Blake, who had posted the fastest time in the world for 2012...until now.
Not only that, but Blake beat him in the 100-meter and 200-meter in the Jamaican trials in June.
Then, there was all the hype about U.S. sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin leading up to these Games. Both men were considered to be threats to take on the Lightning Bolt.
Additionally, Bolt wasn't exactly healthy in 2012. In fact, it was only a week-and-a-half ago that he failed to show up to Jamaica's open training sessions due to a back injury, according to IOL.co.za.
This prompted former gold-medal winner Michael Johnson to say, via the Daily Mail:
We’re going to be treated to an incredible showdown and it’s primarily because Usain Bolt is not at his best. He’s had an injury that he’s been dealing with all season, he was beaten at the Jamaican trials by his countryman Yohan Blake and hasn’t raced since. Blake is gaining confidence every day.
Right. How's that working out for you now, MJ?
If this was Bolt "not at his best" then I shudder to think how much faster he could run when he is at his best. His time of 9.63 seconds in this race was only five-hundredths of a second slower than his own world record time, which he set back in August of 2009.
The way that Bolt surged past the pack was stunning. Gatlin, Gay and Blake kept going along at about the same speed, while Bolt found another gear that they just didn't have. Even more stunning was the fact that every sprinter in the top five posted either his personal best or his season best time.
The thing that I find the most fascinating about Bolt's win on Sunday is that he didn't look to be in phenomenal shape. Every other contestant on that final start line looked like he'd been training for months leading up to the event, but Bolt looked like he'd been resting up.
No matter. Bolt is simply the best, full strength or not.
Here are the final results, thanks to London2012.com:
|1||Usain Bolt||Jamaica||9.63||Olympic Record|
|2||Yohan Blake||Jamaica||9.75||Tied Personal Best|
|3||Justin Gatlin||USA||9.79||Personal Best|
|4||Tyson Gay||USA||9.80||Season Best|
|5||Ryan Bailey||USA||9.88||Personal Best|
|7||Richard Thompson||Trinidad and Tobago||9.98|