Bolt Takes 100-meter Olympic Gold

By Maria Sanminiatelli 6 August 2012

LONDON—Usain Bolt seized the 100-meter Olympic gold Sunday night, delighting fans as he set a new Olympic record and celebrated with half a victory lap around the jam-packed stadium.

The day after the host nation won six gold medals, including three in one hour in track and field, Andy Murray and sailor Ben Ainslie kept the British gold medals flowing.

There were some disappointments, too.

Double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius did not qualify for the 400-meter final, finishing last in his semifinal heat. The historic relevance of the moment was not lost on his competitors, however. World champion Kirani James walked over to Pistorius—the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics—immediately after the race and asked for his name bib as a souvenir.

The South African is still expected to run the 4×400 relays, which start Thursday. Last year, Pistorius won the silver at the world championships.

Bolt’s victory in the packed 80,000-seat stadium marked one of the defining moments of the London Games. He ran in 9.63 seconds, just ahead of his training partner and fellow Jamaican, Yohan Blake, who came in second at 9.75. American Justin Gatlin took bronze in 9.79.

Bolt fell shy of his world record of 9.58 seconds but improved on the 9.69 he ran four years ago in Beijing to enter his name, once again, in the Olympic record book.

Never modest, Bolt said the night went as expected.

“I knew it was going to be like this. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind it was going to be like this,” he said.

After crossing the finish line he ran around the half track. Then he stopped, kissed the ground and gave his now-famous “To The World” pose, pointing both fingers in the air while fans screamed his name.

In the night’s other races in the main stadium, Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States won Olympic gold medal in women’s 400 meters, and Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya took the Olympic gold medal in men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan won the women’s triple jump.

Earlier, Murray beat Roger Federer for the men’s singles tennis gold, gaining a measure of revenge for the Wimbledon final he lost on the same Wimbledon court to the Swiss star a month ago.

And he didn’t mess around, dominating a listless Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, winning nine consecutive games at one stage and breaking the seven-time Wimbledon champion’s serve four times in a row.

“It was the biggest win of my life,” said an emotional Murray. “I’ve had a lot of tough losses in my career. This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I’ll never forget it.”

The Scotsman couldn’t add to the British gold medal total when he and Laura Robson lined up in the mixed doubles final. The golds went to Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who won 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 to leave the British pair with silver medals.

Navigating familiar waters, Ainslie won his fourth straight gold medal and fifth games medal overall, making him the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

Ainslie, who trailed most of the event until Sunday’s final race, eclipsed Denmark’s Paul Elvstrom as the most successful sailing Olympian. Elvstrom won four straight gold medals from 1948-60, including three in the Finn class.

“It is always hard when people say you are a ‘dead cert’ to win,” Ainslie said. “You try to tell them that is not the case, but they don’t listen.”

The two new golds Sunday gave Britain 16—eight over the weekend. That was good enough for third place in the gold medal race behind the United States and China.

On Saturday, heptathlete and national poster girl Jessica Ennis, long jumper Greg Rutherford and 10,000-meter runner Mo Farah won their events one after the other in a packed main stadium as part of the British gold onslaught.

In an earlier match at Wimbledon, Serena and Venus Williams won the women’s doubles tennis title, becoming the first tennis players to win four Olympic gold medals. They defended their Beijing 2008 doubles title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.

Serena made it a perfect Olympics, playing under the roof on a rainy afternoon at the All England Club a day after she dominated Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 for singles gold. She joined Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam — winning the Olympics and the four majors.

In the only track cycling final Sunday, Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark won the gold medal in the men’s omnium after surviving a crash in one of the six races of the event. Hansen hit the wooden boards in a curve after connecting with the rear wheel of Britain’s Edward Clancy in the scratch race but escaped uninjured and went back on the track.

He managed to rejoin the peloton after regaining a lap and finished sixth at the line. Hansen then produced a full-on effort in the 1-kilometer time trial to win the inaugural Olympic title in the multidiscipline event with a total of 27 points.

In the rain-soaked women’s marathon, which started and ended at Buckingham Palace, Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia finished in a time of 2 hours, 23.07 seconds to win gold, holding off Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya by five seconds. Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova of Russia took the bronze.

In event finals Sunday in gymnastics, Zou Kai defended his Olympic title on men’s floor exercise, Krisztian Berki of Hungary won gold on the pommel horse and Sandra Izbasa took the women’s vault.

It was the fifth gold medal for China’s Zou, who has one from last week’s team competition and won three in Beijing.

Lin Dan of China become the first man to retain the Olympic badminton singles title, beating Malaysian archrival Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-19. Defending champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea won his second shooting gold medal in London, overtaking compatriot Choi Young-rae by 0.5 point on his last shot in the 50-meter pistol final.

Roman Vlasov of Russia won Olympic gold medal in men’s 74-kilogram Greco-Roman wrestling; Wu Minxia of China took Olympic diving gold medal in women’s 3-meter springboard, and Italy won Olympic fencing gold medal in men’s team foil.