LONDON (MCT) — Just in case Usain Bolt’s resounding victory in the 2012 Olympic Games 200-meter final didn’t silence his few remaining critics, as the Jamaican crossed the finish Thursday night he held a finger up to his lips as if to say “shhhhh.”
“That was for all the people doubting me,” Bolt said later. “That was just my way of telling them to stop talking now because I’m a legend. I’ve done something that has never been done before and because of that I am the greatest. The greatest ever.”
Bolt’s 19.32-second victory on a historic night at the Olympic Stadium further cemented his place as the greatest sprinter ever.
Bolt, who on Sunday became the first man to defend the Olympic 100 title on the track, Thursday became the first made sweep the 100 and 200 gold medals in consecutive Olympic Games. In fact he is the first man ever to win two Olympic 200 crowns. And he did so in spectacular fashion, leading a Jamaican sweep of the medals and dragging three other men under 20 seconds with a winning time that was equal to Michael Johnson’s then world record-winning time at the 1996 Games and is the fourth fastest 200 ever.
“He is the god of track and field,” said Yohan Blake, Bolt’s training partner.
Blake duplicated his silver medal finish in the 100 with a 19.44 clocking while relative unknown Warren Weir, 22 like Blake, took the bronze. Wallace Spearmon of the U.S. ran 19.90 but had to settle for fourth place.
“This certified that I am a legend,” Bolt said. “I’m over the moon. I’m happy. Tell my doubters ‘Thank you very much.’”
If Bolt were sending out thank you notes to his skeptics for motivating him at the top of the mailing list would be Carl Lewis, who won the Olympic 100 and 200 in 1984 and was awarded the 1988 100 title after Canada’s Ben Johnson was stripped of the gold medal for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Lewis was upset by training partner Joe DeLoach in the 1988 Olympic 200.
“I’m going to say something controversial,” Bolt said in a post-race press conference. “Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him. The things he says about track athletes are very degrading. I think he’s just looking for attention because nobody really talks about him (anymore).
“I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”
Lewis in an interview after Bolt swept the Beijing sprints implied that the Jamaican was using banned performance enhancing drugs, saying that “you’re a fool” by not questioning whether Bolt was racing clean. Lewis has continued to raise doubts about Bolt in subsequent interviews. This has been something of a pattern with Lewis who also made derogatory comments about Maurice Greene, the 2000 Olympic champion and former world record-holder in the 100, and Johnson when they were at their peaks.
In raising questions about Bolt and other Jamaican sprinters, Lewis has failed to mention that he tested positive for a banned stimulant at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials. The violation could have resulted in a suspension that would have kept Lewis out of the 1988 Games. But U.S. Olympic Committee officials, however, declined to suspend Lewis, telling him in a confidential letter that they considered the positive test the result of inadvertent use. The positive tests and the USOC’s handling of the case remained a secret until exposed by the Orange County Register in 2003. Don Catlin, who ran UCLA’s IOC-accredited drug testing lab and was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s drug appeals panel in 1988, said in a recent book that he disagreed with the USOC decision in the Lewis case.
“Because essentially they overlooked it,” Catlin said in “The Dirtiest Race In History,” Richard Moore’s chronicle of Lewis’ showdown with Johnson at the 1988 Olympics.
“It’s really amazing when people talk stupid stuff,” Bolt said. “Lewis, nobody remembers who he is.”
Lewis, however, wasn’t the only one doubting Bolt after he was disqualified out of last year’s World Championship 100 for a false start and then had a turbulent 2012 spring. He was upset by Blake in both the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and then pulled out of a Diamond League meet in Monaco and headed to Germany for treatment on a sore hamstring.
“Yohan gave me a wakeup call at the Trials,” Bolt said. “He kind of knocked on my door and said ‘Usain this an Olympic year and you’ve got to get serious.’”
Before Thursday’s final, Bolt pulled Blake aside. “I said, ‘Yohan, it’s not your time, it’s my time,’” Bolt recalled. “‘After the Olympics, it’s your time.’”
Lining up in Lane 7, Bolt focused on keeping Blake, in Lane 4, behind him around the curve. Bolt hit the home stretch three meters clear and then extended the gap enough to hold off Blake’s charge in the final 80 meters.
“I did what I wanted,” Bolt said. “It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I am the greatest.”
His legendary status cemented, Bolt is uncertain about his future. He was non-committal about pursuing a triple-double in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. “I’m not really sure what I’m going to do,” he said.
Since arriving in England he has lobbied for a try-out with Manchester United, boasting that he would be the ideal replacement for Ryan Griggs on the wing. He also pronounced himself available for female companionship. A reporter Thursday asked since he was a legend what his criteria would be for finding a girlfriend or a wife?
“Does she have to be an actress?” the reporter asked. “A singer? A queen? The fastest woman in the world?”
When the latter was mentioned Bolt shook his head “No” and scowled. Olympic 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica is married.
For the next 48 hours, however, Bolt’s primary focus will be on Saturday night’s 400-meter relay final, the last event on the Olympic track program other than Sunday’s men’s marathon. Blake said Thursday Jamaica is capable of breaking its own world record of 37.04.
“That would be a good way to close the show,” Bolt said. “Then on Saturday I’ll party like it’s my birthday.”