By Julie Glass
Moments after winning his third Olympic gold medal in a row in the men’s 100 meters Sunday night, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt began to plan for his strongest race.
No, the 100 isn’t where Bolt shines most. His best event – and his favorite, he’s said – is actually the 200 meters, which holds its semifinals tomorrow and the finals on Thursday.
His first forays in track and field competition came in the 200, as a teenager in Jamaica. Now, as he prepares for the final individual sprint of his Olympic career, his name is littered throughout the all-time record list: Bolt has run four of the top six times in history, including a world-record 19.19 seconds in Berlin in 2009.
“I am ready to go,” he said.
He even has his sights set on a new world record. Bolt said before competition that he hopes to run the 200 in under 19 seconds.
So here’s the big question: Can anyone beat Bolt in the 200?
There’s LaShawn Merritt, the two-time medalist who took bronze in Sunday’s 400 finals. There’s another American sprinter, Ameer Webb. And there are two fellow Jamaicans, Yohan Blake and Miguel Francis, very much in medal contention.
But there’s a short answer to that big question: No, there’s no one on the track here in Rio who can beat Bolt when he’s at his best.
And he’s given every indication that he has found the form needed to complete yet another medal trifecta – gold in the 100, 200 and the 4×100-meter relay.
“I think if I can get a good night’s rest after the semifinals I think I could” break the record, Bolt said. “So I’m going to go out there and leave it all on the track. Come 200 finals, I’m just going to run as hard as I possibly can and do as good as I possibly can. And hopefully I get the record. That’s the thing I really want.”