Usain Bolt Qualifies for 200m Final with Semifinal Heat Victory

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after competing in the Men's 200m Semifinals on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Usain Bolt continued to stake his claim as the most dominant sprinter of all time by qualifying for Thursday's 200-meter final.

BBC Radio 5 tweeted this shortly after Bolt's qualifying run in the second heat of Wednesday's 200 semifinal:

Usain Bolt wins his 200m heat in 20.18 seconds. Live #bbc2012

— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) August 8, 2012

Bolt's semifinal run didn't come close to the world record he set in 2009 (19.19 seconds), but no one expected him to go all out in the semifinals. The "real" sprinting happens in the finals when everything is on the line and one mistake can mean everything.

Olympic fans have been familiar with Bolt since long before London. He won three gold medals in Beijing, and he has world championship medals dating back to 2007 in Osaka. He has an excellent career resume, and that was before London's Games came along.

Bolt hasn't disappointed this summer either. Prior to his 200 qualifying run, he successfully defended his 100-meter title and set an Olympic record in the process. Those who watched the race will never forget watching Bolt's climb from sixth to first place in the final 50 meters.

The 200 final will be a different story. He will be joined by two fellow Jamaicans, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, and a few other opponents capable of pushing him. Bolt's time was solid, but Churandy Martina, Wallace Spearmon, Christophe Lemaitre and Blake all ran faster in Wednesday's heats.

People familiar with Bolt know that he runs his best with everything on the line. His performance in the 100 officially entered his name among the Olympic greats, and he knows that the 200 is a major chance to add to his elite status.

You don't want to miss Thursday's 200 final. Bolt enters as the top contender regardless of his time, but a handful of others are itching for the gold.