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Usain Bolt Will Defend His Title As 'World's Fastest Man'

Aug 5, 2012
Originally published on August 6, 2012 11:31 am

Usain Bolt is still the "world's fastest man."

The Jamaican sprinter has won the men's 100-meter race in an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. Just after 4:50 p.m. ET, he successfully defended the gold medal he won four years ago in Beijing.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake came in second today, giving him the silver medal. American Justin Gatlin was third, meaning he gets the bronze.

Update at 11 a.m. ET, Monday: We've gathered more reactions from the sprinters:

After the race, Bolt admitted that he had to "wake up" before defending his gold medal, as NPR's Tom Goldman reports for Morning Edition:

"Sometimes you lose sight because everybody's praising you," Bolt said. "And then you lose sight. But for me, I've said it... at the trials, when Yohan Blake beat me twice, it woke me up, it opened my eyes — pretty much he said, come on knock on my door and said, Usain, wake up — this is an Olympic year. I'm ready, are you?"

And Tom notes that American Justin Gatlin, who won the 100 meters in the Athens 2004 Games and then served a four-year ban for having performance-enhancing substances in his system, won bronze.

"I went out there to challenge a mountain," said Gatlin, 30. "I went out there to challenge the odds. Not just myself... everything I've been through, but the legacy of Usain Bolt. And I had to go out there and be fearless."

Our original (pre-race) post:

Jamaica's Usain Bolt "built a big lead and jogged his way across the line to easily win his 100-meter Olympic semifinal in 9.87 seconds, setting up a chance for a second consecutive gold medal in the dash later Sunday," The Associated Press reports.

And he'll be joined in the finals by "including his Jamaican teammate and training partner, world champion Yohan Blake. A third Jamaican qualified, former world-record holder Asafa Powell, as did the U.S. trio of 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, past world champion Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey. Also into the final: 2008 Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands."

Here's how The Guardian describes Bolt's performance in the semis:

"Bolt looks slightly nervous on the start line. He crosses himself, climbs out of the blocks slowly and then whoosh - look at him go from 30m to 70m! - that was Bolt at his near-best. He slows down to win in 9.87 sec, glaring at Ryan Bailey, who comes second in 9.96 sec, as he does so. Dwain Chambers finishes in fourth in 10.05 sec, and won't make the final."

The 100-meters final is set for 4:50 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.