The stadium emptied in less than five minutes. It is chaos outside. The nearest Enhengo de Dendro metro station is packed. People are going home. No one wants to see the high jump and other events in Olympic Stadium. The Bolt is shot and it is goodnight and sweet dreams in Rio de Janeiro. Yes, it is Usain Bolt again, with a historic third gold in the men’s 100m.
Initially, it seemed like the Jamaican was just a part of the elite octet, like the peloton in cycling. Then, the coil broke and the ‘head’ popped out. Like a cobra striking, Bolt zoomed ahead, leaving the body behind. He finished it in 9.81 seconds, followed by Justin Gatlin of the US in 9.89 seconds and Canada’s Andre de Grasse at 9.91 seconds.
Rio 2016 is Bolt’s swansong. But he has a mission before he heads back—the triple triple. He would want to claim golds in 200m and the 4 x 100m relay. And, if that happens, he will bow out with nine golds.
When Gatlin was shown on the screen at the start line, the crowd hissed. A clear disapproval of his dope-tainted past. But, Bolt was met with cheers and smiles. In times like these, it feels good to have a clean figure who can unite people across continents. After finishing the race, Bolt ran around with a stuffed figure of Vinicius, the Games mascot. And, then someone from the stands threw him a Jamaica flag. He bowed to the fan and took off with the flag. The evening ended with Bolt striking his signature pose. Twice. And the crowd roared its approval.
At the official press conference, Bolt said: “The small gap between the semi-fnal and the final affected me. I kinda fell dead at the start and I do not appreciate the change in schedule.” Bolt then pointed at de Graasse and said, “He can do it, he is young. I am getting old, you see.” And, the newsroom just cracked up.
Bolt was not the only hero in the stadium this evening. Please cheer for Wayde van Niekerk, too. The South African shaved off 15 hundredths of a second off Michael Johnson’s 400m record set in 1999. At the official press conference, van Niekerk said, “All I have to say at this moment is that God is great, and that he has been with me every step.” After the race, the South African had kneeled on the track in prayer. “Last Olympics, I was at home watching the show on TV. And, here I am today, among my heroes.” Van Niekerk’s time was 43.03s, followed by Grenada’s Kirani James at 43.76s and the US’s LaShawn Merritt at 43.85s. Bolt said, “
For my part, I think you, me and the world are being unfair to van Niekerk. A world record, but tomorrow’s headlines are going to be about Bolt.