Usain Bolt won the men’s 200m to claim his second Rio 2016 gold, his eighth at an Olympics, and keep alive his hopes of an unprecedented ‘treble treble’.
The Jamaican ran 19.78 seconds to come home ahead of Canada’s Andre de Grasse and France’s Christophe Lemaitre.
Britain’s Adam Gemili clocked the same time as Lemaitre, but was denied his first Olympic medal in a photo finish.
Bolt, 29, has already won the 100m in Rio and will run in the 4x100m relay final on Friday (02:35 BST, Saturday).
Bolt is aiming to match his achievement of claiming gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
The Jamaican, who said in February he would retire after the 2017 World Championships, has won all eight Olympic finals in which he has appeared.
“The fact I came here and executed what I wanted to is a brilliant feeling,”
“I wasn’t happy with the time when I crossed the line but I’m excited I got the gold medal – that’s the key thing.”
Only US sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis and Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi have won more Olympic gold medals in athletics.
Lewis won nine golds between 1984 and 1996, while Nurmi also won nine between 1920 and 1928.
“What else can I do to prove I am the greatest? I’m trying to be one of the greatest, to be among Ali and Pele,” added Bolt.
“I have made the sport exciting, I have made people want to see the sport. I have put the sport on a different level.”
Bolt believed he could break his world record of 19.19 and even go under 19 seconds in Rio’s Olympic Stadium.
So the slow time – by his standards – left the Jamaican gesticulating angrily as he crossed the line more than two tenths of a second ahead of De Grasse.
But Bolt quickly broke into a beaming smile, celebrating with a trademark ‘Lightning Bolt’ as thousands of fans chanted his name.
|Bolt’s major 200m wins|
|2008 Olympic Games, Beijing||19.30secs – world record|
|2009 World Championships, Berlin||19.19 – world record|
|2011 World Championships, Daegu||19.40|
|2012 Olympic Games, London||19.32 – Olympic record|
|2013 World Championships, Moscow||19.66|
|2015 World Championships, Beijing||19.55|
|2016 Olympic Games, Rio||19.78|
Gemili ‘heartbroken’ after missing podium
Gemili, 22, was competing in his first Olympic 200m final and was not tipped to challenge after scraping through as one of the two fastest semi-final losers.
But the 2014 European champion, running in lane two, clocked a time of 20.12 – leaving him just three thousandths of a second behind Lemaitre.
“I am heartbroken, I put so much into that run,” he said. “I lost my form at the end and to get so close at the end is heartbreaking. I am absolutely gutted.”
Lemaitre, second from bottom in lane seven, took bronze ahead of Gemili
‘I expected faster’
Michael Johnson, United States’ four-time Olympic gold medallist:
“I expected a little faster but the race is what it is. Usain Bolt was straight into the lead and never relinquished it. This was a quality race.
“You could not separate the guys for bronze. I don’t think Adam Gemili could have done more to get that bronze.
“If you look at his race and his position, he finished ahead of guys like [former Olympic and world 400m champion] LaShawn Merritt.”
Colin Jackson, Great Britain’s two-time world 110m hurdles champion:
“Usain Bolt was so aggressive out of the blocks. Andre de Grasse said he wanted to go with Usain and that is what he has done. If I am honest, many of the athletes will be disappointed with their times.
“My heart goes out to Adam Gemili. To be fourth with the exact same time as third place, Adam will be devastated no doubt but he is still fourth in the world, he has to remember that and he has a bright, bright future ahead of him.”