World’s fastest man, Usain “lightning” Bolt, won his 100 meter heats easily at the London Olympics in a time 10.09 seconds.
The truth is, he jogged most of the way. He shut off the burners when he knew it was over and coasted the rest of the way. As he crossed the finish line, he looked left at the other guys to see how far behind him they were.
However, the beginning of the race, through the first 20 meters, looked awkward. And that’s where Bolt’s problems have been for the past few months, if not the past few years.
“The reaction was good, but I made a bad step and stumbled a bit,’’ he said. “But it was good. I did some good training, I am feeling good, I am back, so I am happy. Without doubt, I am feeling great.’’
Bailey, the least known of the three quick Americans vying for the title, was the quickest qualifier with his blistering run of 9.88 seconds to match his personal best.
“9.88, I wasn’t expecting that,” he said. “There’s no pressure on me whatever. Nobody expects me to medal so I can steal a medal from someone else.”
Gatlin, who has served a four-year doping ban since winning the title at the Athens Games, had just set the standard with his run of 9.97 in the second heat.
“I had a couple of tears before I got on the track,” he said. “It’s good to be back.”
The other American, Tyson Gay, also eased through by winning the first heat in 10.08 seconds and the second fastest man of all time said he had come through the race comfortably despite testing his recently injured groin.
“I didn’t feel any pain,” Gay said. “I did what I wanted to do and from 60 meters I really had a go.”
Jamaica’s world champion Yohan Blake took the foot off the pedal 10 meters from the line but still won heat six in 10.00, summing up his feelings with the one word, “good”.
The third Jamaican contender, former world record holder Asafa Powell, was given a race by young British sprinter Adam Gemili but went through to Sunday’s semi-finals in 10.04.
Gemili progressed with an impressive 10.04 and Briton Dwain Chambers, apparently forgiven for his doping past by a partisan packed house at the Olympic Stadium, won the last heat to qualify in 10.02.
Kim Collins, who had hoped to run in his fifth Olympics, failed to make the starting blocks after an apparent falling out with the St Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee.
“My fans. I won’t lie,” the 36-year-old tweeted on Saturday. “Won’t be running later tonight. For those who saw me run in Mexico. That’s the last time I represent my country.
“Even men in prison get their wives to visit. 6 athletes and 9 officials. That ain’t enough to make some people happy. Omg.”