If there were any doubts, it took less than 10 seconds – 9.81, to be exact – for Usain Bolt to erase them.
He is the Olympic champion once again.
On a muggy Sunday night in Rio, the Jamaican superstar won the signature event in track and field in a runaway and added this line to his already gleaming resume: first person to capture three straight 100-metre titles at the Olympics.
The 6-foot-5 sprinter overcame his typically slow unfurling from the blocks, gradually worked up speed, caught American Justin Gatlin with 40 meters left and was celebrating – pointing at his chest with his thumb – before he crossed the finish line.
Bolt beat Gatlin, who was greeted by the fans with raucous boos, by .08 seconds. Andre de Grasse of Canada won the bronze.
Chants of “Bolt, Bolt, Bolt” rang out from the near-capacity stadium. The show lived up to its billing.
No, this wasn’t Bolt at his fastest – or even his best. The man who burst onto the scene with his hot-dogging world record eight years ago in Beijing turns 30 after these Olympics and says these will be his last.
“I am a living legend,” he said. “Somebody said if I win these three gold medals I would be immortal and I kind of liked it. So I’m going to run with that one.
“I’m happy and I’m proud of myself. It wasn’t perfect execution, but I’m proud of myself. I wanted to set myself apart from everybody else and this is the Olympics, I have to do it.
“I came to this Olympics to win three gold medals, to prove myself again as one of the greats.”