Bolt Smashes the 100m World Record on Day 2 of the World Championships

August 16, 2009

So much for the Usain Bolt-Tyson Gay showdown.

Bolt destroyed his previous world-record by running through the tape and winning the Men's 100m World Championships final in a time of 9.58 seconds. It was the first time in history that someone had run under the 9.6 barrier, and it bested Bolt's prior mark from the '08 Olympics by .11 of a second.

When Bolt got off to an excellent start, it effectively killed the chances of the other sprinters. By 30 meters he was already in the lead, although Gay still remained hot on his heels.

However, as Bolt began to pick 'em up and put 'em down, his long stride gradually began to pull away from Gay and the rest of the field.

In the final 20 meters, Gay tried to close with his excellent top-end speed, but at that point it was too little, too late. Bolt had successfully captured his first 100m gold at the World Championships.

To his credit, Gay also ran a superb race. His time of 9.71 seconds was a personal best, an American record, and the third fastest legal time in track history behind Usain Bolt's 9.69 and 9.58. Gay was able to post that time despite having a banged-up groin that limited his practice work throughout the week.

For Bolt, however, his historical performance indicated that there is no limit to just how great he can become.

Bolt is young, supremely confident, and blessed with that great turnover and stride length. And because Tyson Gay has posted some excellent times throughout the year, Bolt has been forced to keep himself honest. As a result, he is probably not going to get beaten from his own carelessness or lack of training.

This season, Bolt and Gay have been in a different league from the rest of the world's top sprinters. Unfortunately for Gay, it now appears that Bolt has graduated to an altogether different class. For Gay to defeat Bolt, he would likely need to run a perfect race, with Bolt also making a mistake along the way.

Overlooked in the Bolt-Gay duel was the performance of Asafa Powell. Powell finally came through in a race that mattered, placing third with an outstanding time of 9.84 seconds.

Fortunately for track fans, Bolt and Gay will go at it once more in the 200m. Gay prefers this event, and has posted the year's fastest time thus far at 19.58 seconds. It might be Gay's best chance to finally catch the Lightning Bolt.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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