Usain Bolt Wins Eighth Olympic Gold Medal In The 200m Sprint


A report by Bill Chappell for NPR.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won gold again at Rio’s Summer Olympics, blowing away the field in the 200-meter race Thursday. Bolt won his eighth Olympic gold medal with a time of 19.78. Taking the silver was Canada’s Andre de Grasse in 20.02.

France’s Christophe Lemaitre won bronze, at 20.12 seconds. U.S. runner Lashawn Merritt placed sixth, coming in at 20.19 seconds.

“I ran hard around the turn,” Bolt said. “On the straight, my body didn’t respond. I’m getting old.”

The Jamaican — who, we’ll note, is 29 — added that while he’s aiming to be among the greats when he retires, he doesn’t think he’ll be at the next Summer Olympics, in Tokyo.

“I want to say so,” he said. “I think this is the last one.”

Bolt has one event remaining in Rio: the men’s 4x100m relay.

Bolt didn’t threaten his records in this event: He owns both the world mark, at 19.19 seconds, and the Olympic record, at 19.30.

Those records were set in 2009 and 2008, respectively. Tonight, Bolt didn’t quite need to get to those levels to blow away the field in front of a large crowd that seemingly had come to see Bolt do exactly what he did: prove once again that he’s the fastest man alive.

Bolt ran in lane 6, next to Merritt in lane 5 and two slots over from de Grasse in lane 4. Coming into this race, the trio were the only runners to clock times below 20 seconds this season.

Before the men’s 200m final was run, Dalilah Muhammad of the U.S. won gold in the women’s 400m hurdles, in a thrilling race that included a strong recovery by her American teammate Ashley Spencer, who overcame a slow start to claim the bronze.

After her race, Muhammad said, “The reality of winning is even better than the dream. Olympic champion, in front of my name.”

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