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Bolt Sets Record In Olympic 200m; Former UTEP Runner Wins Silver But Is Disqualified

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

BEIJING (AP) – Usain Bolt kept driving for the finish line, knowing the race was won but there was something even bigger out there.

Not just another world record, but history itself. Not just an unheard-of blowout, but the chance to be called the greatest sprinter ever.

Bolt may have done just that Wednesday night, on his sport’s biggest stage.

The Jamaican wunderkind hurtled to his second world record and his second Olympic gold medal, finishing the 200-meter race in 19.30 seconds to break Michael Johnson’s 12-year-old mark. In doing so he became the first man ever to break the world record in both the 100 and 200 at the same Olympics and the first since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win the sprint double.

That he did it was one thing – how he did it was even more memorable: He crossed the line about four body lengths ahead of anyone else.

The race for the other medals turned out to be much more of a competition – one that took far longer than 19 seconds to decide.

Former UTEP runner Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles finished second behind Bolt – hardly in the same frame – and American Wallace Spearmon came in third.

But while Spearmon was still celebrating on the track he learned he had been disqualified for running outside his lane, and two hours later track officials accepted a U.S. protest that Martina did the same.

That gave American Shawn Crawford the silver – “It feels like a charity case,” he said – and teammate Walter Dix bronze.

The final stat sheet showed Bolt an incredible 0.66 seconds ahead of Crawford.

Officially, it will go down as the largest margin of victory in an Olympic 200.

And then there are the world records.

The last man to hold both simultaneously was none other than Donald Quarrie, the 1970s Jamaican star whom Bolt said he always wanted to pattern his running after.

Now Quarrie and everyone else – Lewis, Jesse Owens, any of the other six men to complete an Olympic 100-200 double – takes a back seat. Nobody other than Johnson had ever run a 200 in under 19.6 and nobody had broken 9.7 in the 100 before Beijing.

Now Bolt has done both.

He had this one won about halfway through, but unlike his record-setting performance in the 100 four nights before, there was no hot-dogging, no celebrating until he crossed the line. He went hard all the way, looking at the clock down the stretch, leaning at the line, knowing that Johnson’s venerable mark was within reach.

When he saw the number come up – a number that never has before – he raised his arms, then fell flat to his back, arms and legs outstretched, and basked in the roar of the Bird’s Nest crowd.

Bolt is simply a different kind of runner – coiled power in his 6-foot-5 frame, supposedly too big for success in the 100, but certainly built to run the 200.

His move out of the starting block isn’t nearly as important in the longer race, which makes this more about raw speed. But a good start certainly doesn’t hurt. He got one in this race, bursting out of the blocks from Lane 5, overcoming the lag about a quarter of the way through.

Bolt’s 100 record is 9.69 seconds. He averaged 9.65 per 100 meters in the longer sprint, running into a very slight headwind.

“Incredible,” Johnson, now the former record-holder, said after the race. “He got an incredible start. Guys of 6-5 should not be able to start like that. It’s that long, massive stride. He’s eating up so much more track than others. He came in focused, knowing he would likely win the gold and he’s got the record.”

Bolt won the race on the eve of his 22nd birthday and a version of “Happy Birthday” played over the public-address system as he took off his gold shoes and wrapped the Jamaican flag around his shoulders like a scarf.

He did another hip-swiveling dance, then raised his hands and pointed toward the scoreboard. A little later, he posed near the scoreboard – the traditional picture that all world record-setters take. Bolt now has three of them – this, the 100 from Saturday and the picture he took in New York in May when he broke the 100 record the first time.

“You’re back there giving it everything you’ve got – it’s brutal,” said Kim Collins, the 2003 world champ who finished seventh. “He’s doing it and making it look so simple. Michael Johnson did it, and it didn’t looked that easy.”

Bolt’s victory made Jamaica 3-for-3 in the Olympic sprints, and the women’s 200 Thursday will include three Jamaicans with gold-medal potential – Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.

None of them, however, will surpass what Bolt has done at these games. And while Michael Phelps and his eight swimming golds may be The Story of these Olympics, Bolt’s sheer dominance in the most basic tests of speed there are will not soon be surpassed – unless he does it himself.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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