BEIJING, China – Jamaican Usain Bolt ran the fastest time of the Men’s 200m semifinals at the National Stadium tonight, August 19, pushing him into the final as the man to beat.
His relaxed stride carried him across the line in 20.09 seconds as he watched himself on the giant TV screen in the National Stadium. His dash and pose puts him just ahead of the 100m fourth place getter Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles who won the first semifinal heat in 20.11s. The United States’ Shawn Crawford ran just behind Bolt in the second heat in 20.12s.
Jamaican giant Bolt goes into the final of the Men’s 200m as favorite after leaving the world in awe after his phenomenal 9.69s world record triumph in the Men’s 100m on Saturday,.
Predominantly renowned for his 200m talent, Bolt made headlines earlier this year when he stormed into the 100m scene, clocking 9.72s to break the world record in New York in May. Initially, Bolt was using the 100m for “speed work” to improve on his more favored 200m.
Bolt has run the three fastest 200m times in the world this year – 19.67s (Athens), 19.76s (London) and 19.83s (Ostrava). His winning 19.67s at the Athens Grand Prix in July was the fifth-fastest ever.
The US trio of Walter Dix, Shawn Crawford and Wallace Spearmon will all be breathing down Bolt’s neck. The three sprinters proved at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials that they are capable of producing a sub-20 second time in the 200m. Both registering 19.86s, Dix just pipped Crawford, the finish line camera separating the two on the line by 0.005s. Spearmon was not far behind in 19.90s.
Crawford is the reigning Olympic champion, and despite a couple of quiet years, remerged in 2008 as a contender for a medal. The 2001 World Championships bronze medalist has a personal best of 19.79s.
At the 2008 USA Olympic Trials, reigning 200m world champion Tyson Gay of the United States broke down mid-race with a hamstring strain, and was not selected to compete in the Men’s 200m in Beijing.
Carl Lewis was the last man to complete the 100m-200m sprint double at the Olympic Games, in Los Angeles in 1984. Usain Bolt will have something to say about that.