Jamaica's Usain Bolt sprinted into history on Aug. 9 becoming the first man to repeat as Olympic champion in the 100 and 200-metre races.
Bolt led a spectacular trifecta for Jamaica in the 200-metre finals, with Yohan Blake finishing second, and Warren Weir, third.
With his historic victory, Bolt has catapulted himself into the pantheon of sports legends. The outstanding and popular athlete had declared before the start of the games that he would be seeking to repeat as Olympic champion in the sprints and to become a living legend.
Before a packed room of journalists, who had waited close to midnight to hear from the Olympic champion, the affable athlete said that he had delivered on his promise.
Bolt, who was flanked by Blake and Weir, was his charming, articulate best, expertly fielding questions. Even when he chided American Carl Lewis for what he described as “comments unbecoming of the US Olympian", it was done without any overt rancour.
Bolt said he felt that Lewis, by the constant disrespect he shows to others in the sport, was not the best example of the Olympic spirit and that he had “lost all respect for him."
Weeks before, there were media reports quoting statements by Lewis, who is a former 100 and 200 Olympic champion, in which he questioned Bolt’s performance and Jamaica’s drug programme, noting that the country does not have a random testing programme.
Jamaica has, in fact, invested millions in establishing a formidable anti-doping commission in recent years.
Bolt’s medal-winning training partners, however, unhesitantly showed their admiration and respect for their senior partner as a true legend. Blake said that while he gave it his best shot, “this was now Bolt’s time and that he truly deserved his triumphs at these Olympics."
The clean sweep achieved by the Jamaican men in the 200 metres underlined claims that this event is the country’s main strength, having had medal winners in this event at every Olympic Games since 1976, and 10 of the 13 World Championships to date.
Indeed, Jamaica has had a proud history of medalling at the Olympic Games since it entered in 1948, only coming away empty handed in 1956 (Melbourne) and 1964 (Tokyo).
The country has also medalled at every World Championships, although the medals at the 1960 Games in Rome were under the banner of the British West Indies, and the bronze medal by the 4 X 400 meters team included James Wedderburn from Barbados.
By Clare Forrester