'I am the greatest athlete to live' boasts Usain Bolt after 200 metres victory
Friday 10 August 2012
Having secured his historic double-double last night, Usain Bolt borrowed a leaf from Muhammad Ali’s pocket book of sayings and declared himself not only a “legend” but also the “greatest athlete to live.”
Bolt did not break the world record, as had been widely anticipated around a stadium where expectation had risen to feverish levels ahead of the race in the wake of David Rudisha's stunning 800m, and nor did he match his Olympic record time set in Beijing four years ago. Instead he matched the old world record set by Michael Johnson of 19.32, but he did destroy the doubters - putting an admonishing finger to his mouth as he crossed the line.
"I did what I wanted," said Bolt. "I came out of a rough season and it's what I came here to do. I'm now a legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson. I'm honoured. I grew up watching him break world records. He's a great athlete.
"The 200m was harder than I expected. I could feel the pressure coming off the bend and that's when I had to focus. I've got nothing left to prove. I've showed the world I'm the best. This is my moment. You can stop talking now, I'm a living legend."
The 25-year-old - he turns 26 in two weeks - believes there will be more moments to come too when he gets himself fully fit. Bolt has struggled all season to get himself in shape and his build-up to the Games was notably dogged by suspicions that he was carrying a back injury that was more serious than he or his coaching staff were prepared to let on.
He was beaten twice by Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials, including in the only 200m he had run this season ahead of the Games. He described that as a "wake up call" and has run impressively throughout the 200 heats, semi-finals and last night, although he believes his fitness prevented him from targeting the world record
"I think it was possible," he said, "but I guess I wasn't fit enough. I was fast but I wasn't fit enough. I came off the corner, I could feel the strain on my back a little bit so I stopped running because I knew it wasn't going to be a world record. I didn't get a world record - I really wanted to do it in the 200m - but I'm happy."
Johnson said of Bolt: "How can you not love Usain Bolt? He is so great for the sport, so great for the Olympic sport. He is the man, he is such a phenomenal athlete. It is a fantastic time for Jamaica as a country."
The three medallists celebrated together around a raucous Olympic Stadium, each draped in the yellow, green and black of the Jamaican flag.
"It's a great honour to come here to do that and give people what they wanted," said Warren Weir, the bronze medallist. "The love in London is very, very good. One love, Jamaica."
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant