Bolt takes 200, still on for 3 golds at worlds
MOSCOW (AP) — When Usain Bolt means business, he is still all alone out there.
Bolt coasted to his third straight 200-meter world title on Saturday with the race basically wrapped up as soon as he entered the finishing straight.
Jamaican teammate Warren Weir never got close to Bolt’s world leading time of 19.66 seconds, but crossing .13 seconds later for silver still left him enough time to join Bolt in a reggae dance to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”
“The energy was great tonight,” Bolt said. “The crowd was in to it,”
Curtis Mitchell of the United States took bronze in 20.24 seconds, but was never in the hunt for gold.
Now Bolt will go for his fourth triple gold at a major championship when he joins the Jamaican team for the 4x100 relay on Sunday.
“It should be even better,” Bolt said.
The wealth of Jamaican sprinting is such that they might well sweep their American rivals in unprecedented fashion, after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clinched a similar 100-200 double and has her final relay also late on the closing day of the championships.
Opposition could hardly touch Bolt on Saturday, and once it was clear his right foot was OK after he dropped a starting block on it early in the week, everything was as good as gold.
Even his start was strong as he quickly gained a decisive edge. And then in the finishing straight, Bolt fully let loose his giant stride, the one that has dumbfounded rivals since he won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
His seventh world title leaves him one shy of American greats Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, who lead the overall gold medal standings in the 30-year history of the event. On Sunday, Bolt can pull alongside them.
And with 10 medals overall, Bolt can overtake Lewis at the top with two silvers compared to a silver and bronze for the American sprinter-long jumper.
Even though he is only 26, Bolt’s maturity showed Saturday as the wild hot-dogging of the Beijing Games gave way to a sense of near-seriousness.
His Lightning Bolt stance came late and besides the dance steps, everything was contained.
“I got to face the fact that I am getting older so I have to try not getting injured during the season,” Bolt said.
The only thing that never changes is the gold.
And it is that which the United States is missing, seeing Russia jump past in the gold medal standings with two great performances on Saturday.
While the Russians were overtaking the heavily favored American 4x400 relay time, Svetlana Shkolina overtook Brigetta Barrett in the high jump.
The Russian won by three centimeters with a leap of 2.03 meters. Defending world champion Anna Chicherova, who is also the Olympic champion, had to settle for bronze after clearing 1.97.
“The crowd’s roar for the 4x400 relay really put me up for my last attempt,” Shkolina said.
Emma Green Tregaro of Sweden, who wore rainbow-colored fingernails during qualifying to show support for Russian gays and lesbians in the face of an anti-gay law, finished fifth in the final, with red-painted nails.
“It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them,” Green Tregaro said. “I’m surprised by the big reactions but I’m happy about the big reaction because it’s mostly been very positive.”
With the closing day to come, Russia leads the gold medal standings with seven, ahead of the United States with six. Overall, the American team leads the host nation 20-15.
Bolt’s medal pushed Jamaica into third place with four golds.
The United States got its only gold on the night from 21-year-old Brianna Rollins, who surged at the end of the 100 hurdles to beat Olympic champion Sally Pearson in 12.44 seconds, edging the Australian by .06 seconds.
Early in the day, Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich became the first non-Kenyan since 2005 to win the men’s marathon gold medal at the world championships.
The Ugandan broke away from Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in the shaded park around Luhzniki Stadium to win his country’s first men’s world title in the 30-year history of the championships.
“I am so happy I won another gold medal for my country,” Kiprotich said. “Now I am the Olympic and world champion.”
Another Ethiopian, Tadese Tola, took bronze on a warm afternoon in the Russian capital.
Later in the evening, Ethiopian veteran Meseret Defar added the 5,000 world title to her Olympic gold medal, coming out of the slipstream of teammate Almaz Ayana to win with a strong finish.
Defar, the 2007 world champion, finished in 14:50.19, beating silver medalist Mercy Cherono of Kenya by 1.03 seconds.
Ayana did most of the heavy work for Defar but weakened near the end. She still won her first major championship medal in 14:51.33.