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Usain Bolt: ultimate showman delivers unforgettable Olympic moment, again

Usain Bolt won the 100 meters at the London Olympics Sunday in stunning fashion, once again showing that he is at his best when the stakes are highest. All eyes turn to the 200 meters.

By Staff writer / August 6, 2012

Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line in the men's 100-meters final in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London Sunday.

Matt Dunham/AP

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London

There are Olympic champions, and then there is Usain Bolt

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Bolt, you see, is as much showman as sprinter – the Muhammad Ali of this generation – and he knows how to build to a big finish.

On Sunday, in a race that he seemed perfectly poised to lose, he ran the second-fastest 100 meters ever recorded, only 0.05 seconds off his own world record. That time of 9.63 seconds won him a gold medal, with countryman Yohan Blake taking silver and American Justin Gatlin taking bronze. But really, it was just the warm-up act.

In winning the 100 meters, he defended his Olympic title from Beijing. If he can do the same on Thursday, winning the 200 meters for a second consecutive Games, he will become the first Olympian ever to do that double twice in a row, and we all might just have to reopen that whole greatest-Olympian-of-all-time argument. 

Sunday's race, Bolt said, was only "one step closer to being a legend."

And being a legend? "That's it. That's my goal." 

When Michael Phelps was going about building his legend in Beijing, not even the CIA could have gotten him to state it so plainly. His goals, Phelps said, were between him and his coach alone, and nothing short of thumbscrews would get them out of him. But here is Bolt, bold as his name, hanging his dearest wish out there like a porkchop in front of his competitors and – perhaps worse – the media. Building drama. Adding pressure.

In short, being the showman.

Posing 'To Di World'

And that is why, when he first entered the cafeteria in the Olympic Village here in London, he got a standing ovation. That is why, when Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, two-time Olympic 100 meter champion, goes to the grocery store at home in Jamaica, people ask her if she knows Usain Bolt. That is why towheaded British schoolgirls in the Olympic Stadium strike Bolt's "To Di World" pose when the camera finds them, arm drawn back like an archer.

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