Usain Bolt last night became the first athlete since the brilliant Carl Lewis to complete the sprint double at the Olympic Games when he followed up his effortless victory in Saturday's 100 metres with another runaway triumph in the 200m. Bolt, the pride of Jamaica, became the ninth man in modern Olympic history to win both showpiece events.
Lewis, who won four successive long jump Olympic titles, did his double in 1984, 12 years after the Russian Valeri Borzov. There was no repeat of the showboating from Bolt that went with his destruction of a world-class field in the blue riband event, however, as the new superstar of sprinting went all out from start to finish to collect a second gold and another world record. The Jamaican, who celebrates his 22nd birthday in style today with two cherished presents around his neck, recorded a stunning time of 19.30secs to eclipse the mark set in 1996 by Michael Johnson and add to the 9.69 world best he set at the weekend in the 100m.
The Lightning Bolt, as he has become known, again romped clear of top quality rivals. His nearest pursuer was Wallace Spearmon, but the American runner was denied the silver medal on a technicality of stepping out of his lane. That left Churandy Martina, of Netherlands Antilles, and the defending champion Shawn Crawford, from the US, with silver and bronze. Watched by a capacity 91,000 crowd in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium, Bolt fooled around before the start, firing an imaginary arrow into the air in an attempt to break the tension.
Once he crossed the finishing line he roared out a message of "I'm No 1" to his impressed audience. Now the big question is whether a relatively unknown competitor at the start of this year can go on to be the greatest sprinter of all time. Nobody has yet accomplished the "double double". Jesse Owens might have done so had his career not been cut short by the Second World War and allegations of professionalism.
Bolt has time on his side in more ways than one. His world record from Saturday's shorter sprint is vulnerable whenever he wants to improve it, judging by the way he coasted over the line, and his margin of victory last night was so emphatic that those seeking to knock him off his perch have a lot of catching up to do. @email:email@example.com