Usain Bolt silenced all the doubters who had questioned whether the world’s fastest man was in shape to retain his Olympic 100 metres title. He did it in just 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record and second fastest time ever.
After losing to Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials and false-starting in last year’s world championship, the whispers were that Bolt was vulnerable. Blake was the likeliest challenger, although the American Tyson Gay and rehabilitated drug cheat Justin Gatlin had also looked formidable in the rounds.
Those notions looked fanciful within about 30 metres of the start as Bolt powered past. The champion had lingered a little in the blocks but the rest of his race was perfect forward motion, and there was clear daylight between him and his pursuers by the finishing line.
"I was slightly worried about my start," Bolt said. "I didn't want a false start, so I kind of sat in the blocks a little bit. But I stopped worrying and I executed. People can talk, but when it comes to championships, it's all about business for me."
Serious business for 9.63 seconds perhaps, but after that it’s all about enjoyment. The celebrations were as joyous and exuberant as we have come to expect from Bolt. The Jamaican doesn’t go in for any of the tough guy posturing and gesturing of the American sprinters. He likes to dance and fool around. The London crowd gave him the ear-splitting acclaim appropriate for a magnificent athlete. They knew they had seen something special.