Usain Bolt won his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the men's 100-meter dash on Sunday. He broke the Olympic record that he set in 2008 with his 9.63-second run in this year's final.
Bolt managed to beat fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake and American hopeful Justin Gatlin with a dominant effort on the race's final 50 meters. He was actually stuck toward the back of the pack until he hit his extra gear with the finish line in sight.
This is why Bolt was one of this year's most anticipated athletes. He runs track's most captivating race, and he's a dominant performer that his event hasn't seen in a very long time. According to the Associated Press (via pennlive.com), Bolt is the only man to win back-to-back gold medals in this event other than Carl Lewis.
Lewis' name still rings out among track enthusiasts. Being mentioned in the same breath as the former American champion cements Bolt's status among the all-time greats.
This is the same guy who called himself lazy in an interview with The Daily Mail in 2010:
"I was pretty lazy but I’ve learned over the years that you can’t be lazy if you want to be the best at your sport,’ he says. ‘I’m still lazy—with the fact that I can’t be bothered to do things sometimes—but I get it done because I still want to be the best."
He also refers to his outlook on life as "cool" earlier in the interview. That doesn't sound like someone with a killer instinct to me, and yet he managed to do something countless others couldn't do. Gobs of tremendous athletes have tried their hand at this breakneck sprint, but Bolt has mastered every necessary skill.
Bolt has dealt with his share of issues since his victory in Beijing. He won three gold medals in the 2011 World Championships, but he has dealt with a back injury otherwise. Throw the "lazy" label on top of that, and no one really knew what to expect from Bolt this time around.
He was facing stiff competition. The likes of Blake and Gatlin both could have defeated him. Resurgent sprinter Tyson Gay was also in the hunt but wound up finishing fourth.
All three of these men are talented enough to beat Bolt if he isn't focused. Instead of faltering under enormous expectations, Bolt put his incredible ability on full display once again.
Bolt's detractors doubted him until the 51-meter mark of this race, but then he showed why he's one of the all-time greats. He "turned it on" when it mattered the most, and that's what the really great athletes do.
Every Olympic fan—and even some who don't watch—were eagerly anticipating Bolt's dash to the finish. He didn't disappoint.
Bolt's run in 2008 put him at the epicenter of track's media buzz, but London's victory solidifies his status. He's earned himself a spot among great Olympic athletes for now and the future, and that's exactly where he belongs.