'I am a legend'

Usain Bolt, the first man ever to win the 200 meters twice, kisses his gold medal.
Usain Bolt, the first man ever to win the 200 meters twice, kisses his gold medal. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Bolt silences doubters with history-making 200

Posted: August 10, 2012

LONDON - When the stakes are the biggest, the spotlight most bright, Usain Bolt is as good as gold.

Good as there's ever been.

Putting the field far enough behind that he could slow up over the last few strides and put his left index finger to his mouth to tell any critics to shush, Bolt won the 200 meters in 19.32 seconds Thursday night, making him the only man with two Olympic titles in that event.

"That was for all the people that doubted me, all the people that was talking all kinds of stuff that I wasn't going to do it, I was going to be beaten," Bolt said of his "Shhhhhh" gesture at the finish. "I was just telling them: You can stop talking now, because I am a legend."

He added the 200 gold to the 100 gold he won Sunday, duplicating the 100-200 double he produced at the Beijing Games 4 years ago. The only difference? In 2008, Bolt broke world records in both.

"I've done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title. Back-to-back for me," Bolt said. "I would say I'm the greatest."

This time in the 200, Bolt led a Jamaican sweep, with his training partner and pal Yohan Blake getting the silver in 19.44, and Warren Weir taking the bronze in 19.84. That was more than a half-second slower than the champion, a man Weir called "my bigger brother."

"The guy is just on another planet right now," Wallace Spearmon, the American who finished fourth in 19.90, said between sobs of disappointment.

Afterward, Bolt had plenty of energy left, dropping to the track to do five pushups - one for each of his Olympic gold medals so far. Ever the showman, he bent down and kissed the track, then did it again a few minutes later, and also grabbed a camera from someone in the photographers' well and trained it at the group clicking away.

Bolt's stated goal heading to London was to become a "living legend," and, well, he's making a pretty good case for himself, even if International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said a few hours before the 200 final that it's too early to make such determinations.

"The career of Usain Bolt has to be judged when the career stops," said Rogge, who criticized the Jamaican 4 years ago for showboating by slapping himself on the chest at the finish of the 100.

"Let him participate in three, four Games, and he can be a legend," Rogge added. "Already he's an icon."

That's for sure.

In Beijing, Bolt became the first man to win the 100, 200, and 4 x 100 relay at a single Summer Games, and all in world-record times, no less.

In London, he became the first man to win two Olympic golds in the 200, and he did it consecutively, too. He's also only the second man - joining Carl Lewis of the U.S. - with back-to-back 100 golds, and Lewis won his second when rival Ben Johnson was disqualified after failing a drug test.

In all, the 25-year-old Bolt has won seven of the last eight major individual sprint titles in the 100 and 200 at the Olympics and world championships, a 4-year streak of unprecedented dominance. The only exception was a race he never got to run: Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the 100 final at last year's world championships, and Blake got the gold.

"Two times in a row. World championships, too," said Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, fifth Thursday in 20 seconds flat. "He can say whatever he wants . . . He did all those things."

Elsewhere Thursday, Americans went 1-2 in the decathlon (Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee) and the triple jump (Christian Taylor and Will Claye), raising the U.S. track and field total with 3 days to go to 24 medals, one higher than the country's total in Beijing.

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