It was a year to the day since Bolt broke Michael Johnson’s 200 metres record in the Olympic final, and at the World Championships in Berlin yesterday the Jamaican felt it was time to give it another go. Another day, another earth-shattering world record.
Legs pumping furiously, Bolt pounded across the line in just 19.19 seconds, shaving 1.1 tenths off his previous record. Incredibly, he even ran into a slight headwind (-0.3 m/s).
The result was never in doubt. It doesn't need to be said that Bolt was in a race of his own: he had passed bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon within five strides. It was Bolt against the clock. Despite the pre-race doubts as to his preparation and the toll taken by previous races, Bolt won. "Tonight I can definitely say I didn't expect it," Bolt said after the race. "I was tired but I thought 'what the heck, let's try'. I ran hard and now I'm really tired! Next time perhaps I shall just run the 100m or 200m alone. I wasn't running upright - it wasn't a good race... but it was a fast one."
Indeed it was. The plaudits flooded in immediately. Steve Cram: "That is wrong. That is just wrong. 19.20?!" Michael Johnson: "Unbelievable. A ridiculous race. The bend is unbelievable. No one has ever run a bend like this ... this is the most incredible bend ever." Darvis Patton (100m finalist): “It’s like he’s created a game person. He’s like a cheat code. That’s how good he is.” Two races, two gold medals, two World Champion titles, two world records. Roll on the relay.
In related news, Bolt was seen before the race rocking an "Ich bin ein Berlino" T-shirt, a pun on JFK's famous misquote in reference to Berlino the Bear, the 9 foot foam mascot that appears to be the only creature capable of upstaging Bolt at these World Championships.
After Melaine Walker won gold in the 400m hurdles, Berlino picked her up, popped her on his back and careered headlong into a stack of hurdles, dropping the Jamaican in the process and sending millions of hearts into millions of mouths (remember Tony Adam's 'jovial' celebration after the 1993 League Cup Final? He lifted the winning goalscorer onto his shoulders, dropped him and broke his arm). No such problems here though – both Berlino and Walker were fine afterwards, the bear even larking about with Bolt after the 200m final. What a job...