Usain Bolt of Jamaica, center, after winning the 100-meter dash at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
RIO DE JANEIRO — As befit the king of sprinting and the biggest global star at the Rio Olympics, Usain Bolt of Jamaica prepared theatrically on Sunday night for the 9.81 seconds that it would take to insure another coronation.
He struck his familiar pose, called To Di World, leaning back, cocking an elbow and pointing his index fingers skyward as if launching an arrow or a bolt of lightning.
He crossed the line first, pounding his chest with his fist twice and securing his place as the greatest sprinter of all time. Justin Gatlin of the United States was second in 9.89, and Andre de Grasse of Canada was third in 9.91. Bolt celebrated after his win while carrying a plush Vinicius, the Games mascot.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica, left, after winning the 100-meter dash at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Bolt became the only sprinter, man or woman, to win the 100 three times. He is also favored for a third straight gold medal at 200 meters and as the most vital member of Jamaica’s 4x100-meter relay team.
In victory, Bolt also saved the beleaguered sport of track and field from an extremely awkward moment – handing another gold medal to Gatlin, who served a four-year suspension for doping from 2006 to 2010, after the entire Russian track team had been banned from the Rio Games for state-sponsored use of performance enhancing drugs.
Sunday’s victory carried both a sense of celebration and farewell for Bolt, who will turn 30 next Sunday as the Rio Olympics end. He has said repeatedly that these will be his final Games.