World Championships: Lightening strikes twice as Usain Bolt reigns as it pours

Jamaican rediscovers style to put Gatlin in his place in storming 100m victory in Moscow

the Luzhniki Stadium

Lightning really does strike twice. Just as the Moscow night sky was lit up by a thunderstorm, the lightning Bolt once more left the rest of the world trailing in his wake.

It had been far from a vintage season from Usain Bolt. The Jamaican had struggled to find his usual fluency for much of it, even suffering a rare defeat to Justin Gatlin in Rome. Lesser athletes have faltered in the post-Olympic haze and Bolt admitted he too had found it "harder to get motivated".

But when it mattered, on the season's biggest stage, the sport's biggest showman once again came to the fore with a season's best of 9.77sec in the 100 metres and the fastest legal time this year, with Tyson Gay's time of 9.75 bound to be erased from the record books.

Gatlin, who had feared the race would be cancelled because of the weather conditions, likened his showdown with Bolt to a heavyweight contest but it was less a rumble in the jungle and more Usain in the rain as the 26-year-old made light of the wet conditions.

To Gatlin's credit, he ensured athletics' blue-riband event was not merely a solo affair, clocking the same reaction time as Bolt to the exact thousandth of a second, and pushing him for much of the race before Bolt edged clear on the line.

It was a fourth individual world title and, astonishingly, his 12th major championship gold in all. More importantly, it made amends for the last World Championships in Daegu, where he was disqualified for a false start.

Typically, though, he was far from satisfied with his efforts, such are the imposing standards he sets. "I am happy but I wanted to do better," Bolt said. "I came with one aim, to regain my title, and I did that, so that's good. The world record wasn't on so I came out just to win."

While the night belonged to Bolt, British eyes were also on James Dasaolu, who made amends for a poor heat run to dip below the 10-second mark once again with a time of 9.97sec in his semi-final. It was enough for him to sneak into the final as the second-slowest qualifier, while his fellow British semi-finalists, Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, fell some way short in that quest.

That earlier run led to hope that Britain could aspire to a first 100m medal at the Worlds for 10 years, when Darren Campbell took bronze in Paris. But Dasaolu lacked the rhythm of both that semi-final and his previous 9.91sec at the trials in the final and came in last in a time of 10.21.

There had been injury problems in his preparations and his sprinting had been curtailed as a result. After the race, he explained: "My build-up wasn't the best, yesterday was my first time coming out of the blocks in three weeks, so I knew I'd be rusty. I didn't have all the training behind me so it certainly took a lot out of me and my body didn't have enough to give come the final. But I'm happy that I'm injury-free and I can continue with the rest of the season."

While the Briton looked nervous, Bolt was the complete antithesis, lifting an imaginary umbrella as the cameras homed in on him in lane six, smiling as he pretended to shelter from the downpour. The only crying shame was that the Luzhniki Stadium was not fuller to see him in full flight, about half of the seats realistically taken on what was unquestionably the biggest night of the nine days of action here.

Gatlin had said the absence of some of the star names such as Gay and Asafa Powell, out following their failed drugs tests, had taken the spark out of the race. But where once there was animosity between Bolt and Gatlin, there appeared to be a greater mutual respect. After the finish, Bolt went to talk to Gatlin, telling him: "I always appreciate competing with you."

A Gatlin victory, with his murky doping past, would have been a disaster for a sport and, in particular, a discipline still trying to claw back its credibility after the recent negative headlines. In some ways, it was the villain against the good guy, with good winning the day.

Gatlin had only qualified in fifth for the final but his time of 9.94 was just two hundredths behind Bolt, whose fellow Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade was the fastest qualifier with a time of 9.90. But Ashmeade could not get close to repeating that.

Bolt aside, the pick of the Jamaicans come the final was Nesta Carter, part of Powell's training group, with the bronze medal in a time of 9.95sec. Meanwhile, the level of Gatlin's celebrations for his silver, an improvement on last summer's Olympic bronze, suggested that, despite his pre-race boasts, he was never really confident of beating Bolt here.

Fittingly, there had been lightning when Bolt first broke the world record in New York six years ago with a time of 9.72sec. He has gone noticeably faster before, although could not tonight. The time didn't matter; the result did.

World wonder: Bolt in numbers

12 Major gold medals won by Bolt – six each in the Olympic Games and the World Championships.

17 Bolt's time (9.77sec) was the equal 17th fastest 100m of all time.

Suggested Topics
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor


Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all