BERLIN (AFP) – The Jamaican Usain Bolt, triple Olympic champion in Beijing, logically became world champion in the 100m on Sunday in Berlin by beating the world record (9.58) and beating the American Tyson Gay (9.71) and his compatriot Asafa Powell (9.84). The Jamaican, who improves on the time he had achieved in the final of the Olympics on August 16, 2008 (9.69), got off to a good start. In the lead from 30m, he almost never relaxed his effort, contenting himself with taking a look at the official timer when crossing the line.
The runner from Antigua Daniel Bailey took 4th place (9.93) while the Trinidadian Richard Thompson, Olympic vice-champion, ranks fifth (9.93). Britain’s Dwain Chambers, the only European in the race, ranked sixth (10.00).
“All I can say is that the crowd gave me a lot of energy,” Bolt said shortly after the finish.
In Beijing, Bolt had already made history by winning the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay, adding to his three titles as many world records. A few weeks earlier, on May 31, 2008, he set his first world record by running the straight line in 9 sec 72 in New York.
He succeeds Gay, triple world champion in 2007 in Osaka (100m, 200m and 4×100m relay).
Imperial in 2007 at the Worlds in Osaka, the sprinter from Kentucky, 27, had experienced a 2008 season marred by an injury during the Olympic selections. Insufficiently recovered, he was released in the semi-final of the 100m at the Olympics.
This season, Gay had the best time, with a 9.77, achieved in Rome on July 10. Bolt had clocked 9.79, after running several times in adverse weather conditions (wind, rain).
In the previous three laps on Berlin’s electric blue track, the 22-year-old Jamaican had shown an almost insolent ease and superiority. In the quarter-finals, he notably finished his straight line by ostensibly exchanging smiles with his training partner, the runner from Antigua Daniel Bailey for a time of 10 sec 03.
Since his Beijing crown, Bolt has become a real star, due to his talent on the track but also his escapades before, after and sometimes during the races.
He thus took the habit of multiplying the smiles, the laughs and the grimaces as soon as a camera appears.
In this Berlin final, they were five “survivors” of that of Beijing. Bolt, but also the Trinidadians Thompson, Olympic vice-champion, and Mark Burns (7th at the Olympics), the American Darvis Patton (8th) and the other Jamaican Asafa Powell (6th).