Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (top L), Yohan Blake (bottom L), Nesta Carter (top R) and Michael Frater pose next to the timing clock that flashes their new world record of 36.84 seconds in the men’s 4x100m relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium Saturday. — Reuters
LONDON – His place in history already secure, Usain Bolt added to his legend by anchoring Jamaica’s 4x100-meter relay team to a world record and capping his second Olympics in a row with three gold medals.
After setting three world records in Beijing four years ago, the “NEW WR” didn’t flash up on the timing clock for Bolt until the last race on the track at the London Games, as he sped away from US anchor Ryan Bailey to cross in 36.84 seconds. That shaved two-tenths of a second off Jamaica’s old world mark.
After winning the 100 and 200 to anoint himself as a “living legend,” he went full-throttle one last time at the Games, gritting his teeth as his giant stride again made the difference. This time he ran through and dipped at the line to get the world record and turn the US-Jamaican men’s sprint rivalry in the favor of the small Caribbean nation of 2.9 million.
The United States took silver in 37.04, equaling the old mark that Bolt and co. set last year at the world championships.
Only a man like Bolt could upstage Mo Farah. The Briton made it a second Super Saturday for a frenzied home crowd at the Olympic Stadium, winning the 5,000 meters to clinch a long distance double at the London Games.
Russia had a brilliant day of its own with four gold medals, led by mother Anna Chicherova who cleared 2.05 meters to win the women’s high jump.
Allyson Felix won her third gold of the Games, giving the 4x400 relay team a big lead halfway through the race and the United States further closed in on winning the medals table with nine gold overall.
Sanya Richards-Ross had an easy relay anchor leg to add this gold medal to her 400-meter gold. Felix earlier won the 200 and 4x100 relay.
For the 80,000 fans though, one more victory of Farah meant more.
Taking the lead with 700 meters to go, Farah staved off all challenges and, riding incessant howls of encouragement, swept away on the home straight.
He threw his hands wide in victory, slapped his head and screamed out loud in amazement after he crossed the line.
Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia threatened until 50 meters out but faded to take silver. Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya won bronze.
Little more than an hour earlier, Russian Yelena Lashmanova had claimed the third world record of the games, in the 20-km walk.
Lashmanova walked past teammate and defending champion Olga Kaniskina within sight of the finish Saturday evening to clock 1 hour, 25 minutes and 2 seconds and win the Olympic gold medal. She improved on the one-year-old world mark by six seconds.
David Rudisha in the 800 and the US women’s 4x100-meter relay set new world records in the Olympic stadium.
Keshorn Walcott won the javelin to give Trinidad and Tobago its first Olympic title in a field event. Walcott, the world junior champion, threw a national record 84.58 meters. Oleksandr Pyantnytsya of Ukraine was second (84.51) and Antti Ruuskanen of Finland took third.
Earlier Saturday, two-time world champion Sergei Kirdyapkin claimed an Olympic record in the 50-km walk, the longest event in the track and field program.
And world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia won the Olympic 800-meter title, beating Caster Semenya of South Africa.
Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko, who watched the 2008 Olympics on TV while serving a two-year doping ban, won the women’s hammer throw gold with an Olympic record throw of 78.18 meters.
Lysenko, who won the world championship title last year, beat the old Olympic record of 76.34 set by Askana Miankova in Beijing with her first throw of the night, 77.56m, then improved it with her fifth.
Renaud Lavillenie of France won the pole vault gold with an Olympic record.
Lavillenie set a games mark of 5.97 meters during the final. Bjoern Otto earned silver and fellow German Raphael Holzdeppe bronze. — Agencies