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Usain Bolt makes history in Rio with third successive Olympics 100m gold medal
Athletes including Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) compete in the Men's 100 meter semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on on August 14, 2016. Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Usain Bolt makes history in Rio with third successive Olympics 100m gold medal

Usain Bolt makes history in Rio with third successive Olympics 100m gold medal

RIO DE JENIRIO – Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won his third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 100m with a time of 9.81 seconds. Over the past eight years, Usain Bolt has transformed the single most elemental contest in all of the sport—the running of one hundred meters—into a three-part act of performance art.

The Jamaican had promised the world he would create history in Rio and he proved good to his word, brushing past his great American rival Justin Gatlin with 25m to go to the coast to become the first man to win three Olympic 100m titles.

The 6-foot-5 sprinter overcame his typically slow unfurling from the blocks, gradually worked up speed, caught American Justin Gatlin with 40 meters left and was celebrating – pointing at his chest with his thumb – before he crossed the finish line.

Athletes including Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) compete in the Men's 100 meter semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on on August 14, 2016. Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Athletes including Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) compete in the Men’s 100 meter semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 14, 2016. Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

‘I am a living legend. Somebody said if I win these three gold medals I would be immortal and I kind of liked it. So I’m going to run with that one,’ Usain Bolt shared after winning.

‘I’m happy and I’m proud of myself. It wasn’t perfect execution, but I’m proud of myself. I came to this Olympics to win three gold medals, to prove myself again as one of the greats,’ he added.

Bolt galloped away in celebration after a superb win, basking in the adulation of the stadium and even taking selfies with fans during his lap of honor.

He then delighted the fans with his traditional “lightning bolt” pose as reggae blasted out of the stadium sound system.

This was Bolt’s slowest championship winning time, a far cry when he raced away from the field to set an Olympic record of 9.63 sec in London four years ago. It is part of a gradual slowing down and he winds towards retirement next year. At the world championships in Moscow in 2013 he had run 9.77, in Beijing last year 9.79. Simultaneously he appears increasingly mortal yet still far beyond the reach of his contemporaries.

Before the start, the athletes were introduced one by one, to a rasping techno beat and mostly rapturous cheers. This was the biggest moment in most of their careers.

Bolt’s charisma and freakish ability have won him legions of fans not just in his native Jamaica, but throughout the world.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates with fans

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates with fans

Men’s 100m results:

  1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.81 seconds
  2.  Justin Gatlin (US) 9.89
  3.  Andre De Grasse (Canada) 9.91
  4. Yohan Blake (Jamaica) 9.93
  5. Akani Simbine (South Africa) 9.94
  6. Ben Youssef Meite (Ivory Coast) 9.96
  7. Jimmy Vicaut (France) 10.04
  8. Trayvon Bromell (US) 10.06

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