By Raf Casert and Ryan Lucas
Friday, August 21, 2009
BERLIN, Aug. 20 -- Usain Bolt startled the world again.
The Jamaican sprinting great captured the 200-meter gold medal in 19.19 seconds at the track and field world championships on Thursday to set yet another world record.
His time in the 200 slashed 0.11 of a second off the mark he set last year at the Beijing Olympics and came four days after he broke his record in the 100 by the same margin.
"I am on my way to being a legend," said Bolt, who gritted his teeth and pointed to the clock as soon as his time flashed.
No one among the near capacity crowd at the 70,000-seat Olympic Stadium disagreed.
"If Queen Elizabeth knighthooded me and I would get the title Sir Usain Bolt, that would be very nice," Bolt said.
Bolt is 5 for 5 in major sprint events. He won the gold in the 100, 200 and sprint relay in Beijing, each time with a world record. Now he is one race away from doing likewise in Berlin.
"I was running my heart out," Bolt said. "I got my start right and that was the key."
Alonso Edward of Panama was second, a distant 0.62 of a second behind Bolt. Wallace Spearmon of the United States took bronze.
"Just coming out there, I'm just waiting for the lights to flash 'game over,' 'cause I felt like I was in a video game," said Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth. "That guy was moving -- fast."
After defending champion Tyson Gay had withdrawn because of injury, Bolt's main competitor stood beyond the finish line -- a huge track clock painted in the same colors as his Jamaican jersey.
With a new take on President John F. Kennedy's famous Cold War quote "Ich bin ein Berliner," Bolt pleased the locals with a training jersey saying "Ich bin ein Berlino," referring to the bear mascot of the championships.
Once across the line, he stuck out his tongue much in the manner of basketball great Michael Jordan.
Bolt took off his orange shoes, which had taken him though through eight races in six days, and he started celebrating on the eve of his 23rd birthday.
"I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke," Bolt said.
During warmups, Bolt faked knocking out Spearmon, with the American happily playing along, taken in by the Bolt aura.S. Africans Defend Teen in Gender Flap
The South African teenager caught up in controversy over requests that she take a gender test received the gold medal on Thursday for her win in the 800 meters, while officials and family came to her defense.
Asked while walking into the medal ceremony how she was feeling, Caster Semenya, 18, smiled and said, "Good, man."
Semenya won the 800 on Wednesday night with a time of 1 minute 55.45 seconds, more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Her dramatic improvement, muscular build and deep voice sparked speculation about her gender.
"She said to me she doesn't see what the big deal is all about," said Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane, South Africa's team manager. "She believes it is God-given talent and she will exercise it."
About three weeks ago, track and field's international governing body asked the South African athletics federation to conduct the gender test after Semenya burst onto the scene by posting a world-leading time of 1:56.72 at the African junior championships in Bambous, Mauritius.
Her father, Jacob, told a South African newspaper: "She is my little girl. . . . I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times."
Leonard Chuene, president of the South African athletics federation, defended the teenager Thursday, and insisted Semenya is facing intense scrutiny because she is African.
"It would not be like that if it were some young girl from Europe," Chuene said in a telephone interview. "If it was a white child, she would be sitting somewhere with a psychologist, but this is an African child."
Chuene also said there was no evidence Semenya was doing anything wrong. "If there was evidence, she would have been stopped," he said. "Where I come from, you're innocent until proven guilty."