London: Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, formally crowned himself “a living legend” after winning the 200m final at the Olympic Games here on Thursday night.
Nearly an hour after helping himself to a second sprint gold at the London Olympics, Bolt walked in for his customary meeting with the media with his hands waving above his head as though he was a king.
“People doubted me after the Jamaican trials [when he lost to teammate Yohan Blake in both the 100m and 200m]. That has worked good for me as I now know who my friends are. They are the ones who believed in me and stood by me and for that I am grateful,” Bolt said after leading Blake and Warren Weir home for a Jamaican clean sweep in his pet 200m event.
“For me it was time to come out and show the world. Yohan gave me a wake-up call with those two defeats for which I am so grateful.
“Now all you people know that this is the greatest athlete in the world. This is your living legend and I have proved it tonight.”
Since his previous golden double at the Bird’s Nest Stadium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt had been constantly challenged about his future objectives. He had time and again insisted that he had to repeat his performance in China before he could be counted among the legends of track and field.
Coming in to the London Olympics reportedly not being 100 per cent fit, Bolt answered his critics last Sunday with a 100m run in 9.63 seconds, which was enough to fetch him his first gold medal here. And on Thursday night there was no denying him his second gold in 19.32 seconds, despite showing signs of straining towards the finish line.
“I think it was all about going out there and proving something to myself first so that everyone who doubted would be silenced. This should be good enough,” he said.
“The key was to run faster on the corner as that is my strong point. But I think I ran a little bit too fast as I came down the straight. I had to then keep my eyes on him [Blake] and I was tiring fast.
“Yohan has pushed me and kept me on my toes. And this win is for all the people who doubted me. You can stop talking now. I am a living legend now.”
The US is the only other country to have made a clean sweep of the Olympic 200m — on an incredible six occasions in the past, including in Los Angeles in 1984 and Athens in 2004.
In 1984, Carl Lewis led Kirk Baptiste and Thomas Jefferson home, while in 2004 it was Sean Crawford leading Bernard Williams and Justin Gatlin to victory.
But Thursday night belonged to the World and Olympic champion as Bolt inscribed his name in this legendary line-up, along with countrymen Blake and Weir.
And as if to make this point clear, Bolt told media even after the media conference concluded: “Hear all you people that I am the living legend. I love this sport and I will continue as a legend in this sport. Now please go and publish this in all your newspapers. And if you don’t then I will stop coming to your press conferences.”
Blake, meanwhile, said: “All of my team encouraged me. I ran fast and then after the turn I saw this tall guy [Bolt] in front of me. And then I heard something say in my mind ‘it is Usain’s time. It is his moment and he has to enjoy it’.
“He took over from Asafa [Powell] and I will take over from him, and then Warren [Weir] can take over from me.”