RIO DE JANEIRO — Usain Bolt’s only real competition was the clock. He couldn’t beat it. Another gold medal isn’t such a bad consolation prize.
Bolt romped in what he says is his last Olympic 200-meter race Thursday night, but finished in 19.78 seconds, more than a half-second short of his own world record — the one he said he really wanted to break.
A win is a win, and Bolt has gold medal No. 8.
But his expression as he crossed the finish line told the real story of this one.
The field running far behind him through the thin mist — Andre de Grasse of Canada finished .24 behind and Christophe Lemaitre of France took bronze — Bolt was giving every ounce of effort, grimacing as he approached the line.
He glanced to his left to check out the clock just before he crossed. The time came up, and when Bolt saw it, he tilted his head back and yelled, stuck his hands wide open as if to say “Why?” then tore off the No. 6 sticker that was on his right hip.
But the after-party was great, as usual. With chants of “Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt” ringing out, Bolt paraded around the track with his flag, reggae music blaring in the background, then dropped to his knees and kissed the track before giving his iconic “To The World” pose.
His record in his favorite race still stands, though, at 19.19. He set it in 2009 at world championships, breaking the mark he’d previously set the year before (19.30) when he made his debut in Beijing.