Usain Bolt looks for 'one more step' to status of legend

Jamaican sprinter begins attempt to retain 200m title as well as 100m with a comfortable display in heat that has the stadium buzzing with 'Usainity'

The Olympic Stadium

As the morning track and field session was about to get under way yesterday, Garry Hill, the Canadian co-announcer in the Olympic Stadium, was asked what he was most looking forward to seeing. "The latest episode of Usainity," he replied.

The Usain Bolt Show has always had an element of the circus about it. The clowning and playing to the gallery is all part of the act, as well as the kind of freakish speed show we saw on Sunday when the Jamaican national treasure shattered all doubts about his form and fitness with a 9.63sec clocking en route to the retention of his 100m crown.

Two days on, the jam-packed 80,000 crowd got 20.39sec of action. After easing round the bend in the opening heat of the 200m, Bolt could afford to slow to a relative jog in the home straight. He still finished first, 0.14sec ahead of the splendidly named Brazilian Aldemir Da Silva Junior.

"It was an easy run," the fastest man in history said when he reached the press in the trackside mixed zone area. "I'm just enjoying it. It's my favourite event."

Then it was time for some Usainity. At the press conference after the 100m final on Saturday, Bolt seemed more bothered by the madness of the London 2012 rules and regulations that had led officials to confiscate his skipping rope and rubber "stretching" band he uses to loosen up before his races. He was asked whether he had tried to smuggle another rope into the stadium today. "I'm going to do it tomorrow," Bolt replied. "I'm going to stick it under my bag – bottom of my bag or something."

Believe it or not, there was a time when the world's fastest man was such a figure of anonymity he could go about his daily business without any fuss. When the Canadian sprinter Percy Williams won the Olympic 100m title in Amsterdam in 1928 he returned to his hotel to find a huge crowd gathered outside.

He asked someone what they were doing and was told they were waiting for the Canadian runner Williams. "I stood around and waited for him too," he later recounted.

In his heat yesterday, the 21st century global sporting phenomenon of the Lightning Bolt could have skipped round the bend with his rope, waited for his rivals to appear, and still won with ease.

He will need to break into something approaching a sweat in his semi-final tonight but – false starts aside – tomorrow's final promises to be a two-horse race between Bolt and the trackside clock.

Asked in the aftermath of retaining his 100m crown whether he had succeeded in his mission to become "a legend", he said he still needed to retain his 200m title. "There is one more step," he reiterated yesterday.

There were four faster heat winners, with Alex Quinonez topping the qualifying list with a time of 20.28sec. In fact, Bolt was only the third-quickest Jamaican – behind Warren Weir (20.29sec) and Yohan Blake (20.38sec).

Blake, of course, beat Bolt at both 200m and 100m at the Jamaican trials in June and the reigning Olympic champion sees his training partner as his greatest threat. "He is the best, hands down," Bolt said. "He has shown he can do great things."

As for Blake, when asked whether he could get the better of Bolt again at the longer distance, he replied: "I'm not really focusing on beating him. I'm concentrating on running my race."

There will be British representation in the semi-finals tonight. Christian Malcolm secured his passage, finishing second in his heat in 20.59sec.

James Ellington, however, failed to make the cut. He was sixth in his race in 21.23sec.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?