Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won the 200m final in Rio Thursday night to join fellow Jamaican Elaine Thompson in winning double gold in the 100m and 200m. These are the third straight Olympic games at which Bolt took home gold in both sprint events. He entered Thursday night as the only man in history to accomplish that feat twice, and now he has put even more distance between himself and previous history with a three-peat.
His finishing time of 19.78 was good enough to blow out a field of Canadian phenom Andre De Grasse and American 400m medalist LaShawn Merritt. His time was much slower than his own Olympic record of 19.30 from Beijing and his World record of 19.19 set at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
Bolt came off the first 100m with an impressive lead and pressed to the finish line to never leave the outcome of the race in any doubt. This comes after a slight “scare” in the semifinals of the event where De Grasse nearly overtook him in the final meters of the race. To be fair to Bolt, though, he had been in cruise control for about 50 meters before De Grasse came up on him.
No one else in the field broke 20 seconds, marking what has been a bit of a weak year in the men’s 200m. De Grasse got silver in a time of 20.02 and France’s Christophe Lemaitre took bronze in 20.12. LaShawn Merritt had a disappointing night, finishing sixth in 20.19 while losing ground on the field over the final meters.
Both Thompson and Bolt will go for triple gold as they are likely to be on the Jamaican 4x100m relay teams running in the final Friday night.