Usain Bolt ran a season-best time of 9.81 to win his third consecutive Olympic gold—and seventh career gold medal—in the event. He is the first sprinter in history to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100m.
The Bolt hysteria got started early after he advanced so easily through his semifinal heat that he became an internet meme:
we did it. we have the opposite of crying jordan pic.twitter.com/cw7a8cHy5Z— uɐɯssnS ʇʇɐW (@suss2hyphens) August 15, 2016
With Bolt’s dominance in the early rounds, anyone hoping to beat him in the final would have to get off to a phenomenal start and hope that it would be too much for Bolt to make up.
Bolt came into these games with some health questions after he was forced to withdraw from the Jamaican trials with a hamstring injury. For Olympic qualification purposes, he proved his fitness with a 19.89 finish in the London Diamond League meet. But, some observers noticed a bit of a hitch in Bolt’s stride through the early rounds of the Olympics. If he remains injured, it didn’t matter Sunday night.
As the race started, that’s just what Justin Gatlin did as he got off to a solid lead that, initially, left Bolt in the dust. Although Bolt overtook him in the final meters, Gatlin hung on for silver in 9.89 seconds. He has now “hit for the cycle” in Olympic medals, having won Gold in 2004 in Athens and Bronze in 2012 in London. He is now one of two men to win three Olympic medals in the 100m, the other, of course, being Bolt.
Canadian Andre De Grasse finished in third to get Bronze. Unlike at last year’s world championships, De Grasse will not have to share that honor with anyone else. His 9.91 finish came after he outleaned Jamaican Yohan Blake and represents a personal best.
World co-bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell barely advanced to the final on time and finished in last in the final with a time of 10.06. At only 21 years old, his best performances in the event are likely ahead of him.
Women’s 1500m Semifinal
There weren’t many big surprises in the semifinal of the women’s 1500m. Brenda Martinez looked gassed from the start of the first heat and was off the back early She finished in last in that heat. At the front, Faith Kipyegon, Dawit Seyaum, and Shannon Rowbury all looked comfortable and qualified automatically.
In the second heat, Genzebe Dibaba showed that she is still the class of the field despite missing most of the season with an injury. She hammered the last lap to get the win, but both Sifan Hassan and Laura Muir looked almost capable of hanging with her kick, which is high praise indeed. Jenny Simpson also looked relaxed in her fourth-place, automatic qualifying finish.