London: Usain Bolt sprinted into Olympic history Thursday, becoming the first man to win the 100-200 double at consecutive games.
Bolt slowed up crossing the line as he led a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the men’s Olympic 200 meters at the Olympic Stadium, raising his finger to his lips in what looked like a failed attempt to silence the 80,000-strong crowd’s deafening roar.
“I’ve done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title,” Bolt said. “Back-to-back for me, I would say I’m the greatest.”
His opponents weren’t about to disagree.
“The guy is just on another planet right now,” said fourth placed Wallace Spearmon.
Bolt’s winning time of 19.32 seconds was outside his own world record, but the crowd had already been treated to the first new world mark on London’s Olympic track.
An hour before Bolt’s run, David Rudisha of Kenya won the 800-meters in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, shaving one-tenth of a second off the record he set in 2010.
“Yes, he’s the greatest runner,” said Timothy Kitum, Rudisha’s teammate who took bronze. “He told me he’s going to run a word record today. He’s the best.”
Americans had more to cheer about as Ashton Eaton won gold in the decathlon.
Bolt said he wanted to become a living legend, but IOC chief Jacques Rogge wasn’t ready to bestow that title even after the 200 win.
“Let him participate in three, four games, and he can be a legend. Already he’s an icon.”
“That was for all the people that doubted me,” Bolt said. “I was just telling them, ‘You can stop talking now because I am a legend.’”
Earlier, Oscar “The Blade Runner” Pistorius and the South African relay team raised the drama stakes at the Olympic Stadium.
Pistorius, a double-amputee who runs with carbon-fiber blades, and his relay teammates were knocked out of the 4×400-meter relay following a collision during the race, then readmitted.
A jury of appeal said South Africa “had been severely damaged” in a collision between Ofentse Mogawane and Kenyan runner Vincent Kiilu, who cut across him too soon in the second section of the heat. The jury decided to give the extra ninth lane to South Africa — silver medalists at the last world championships — for Friday’s final.
While other runners took off with their batons after the changeover, Pistorius glanced back to see the baton wasn’t coming, and dejectedly walked off the track. It would have been his last appearance at the Olympics after failing to qualify for the 400-meter final as an individual runner.
The incident unfolded as London enjoyed the warmest day of the Olympics so far.
Bolt won both the 100 and 200 — in world record times — in Beijing four years ago and with the 100 gold already collected, he joined Carl Lewis as the only athlete to win the race at successive games.
Training partner Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt in both the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican trials, was second in the 200.
Manteo Mitchell kept going after he felt something pop in his left leg halfway through the opening lap in the 4×400-meter relay preliminaries, helping the Americans tie for first with the Bahamas. A few hours later, doctors told him he had a broken leg.