Jamaica's Bolt Breaks 200M Record Jamaica's Usain Bolt broke the world record by winning the 200 meters in 19.30 seconds. He is the first man since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win both the 100- and 200-meter events at an Olympics. He is also the first man to break the world marks in both events.

Jamaica's Bolt Breaks 200M Record

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

Usain Bolt has done it again.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Unidentified Man #1: World Record 19.30.

Unidentified Man #2: (Unintelligible).

SIEGEL: Today, the Jamaican sprinter won the 200 meters in world record time. That's after he cruised to a gold medal and a world record on Saturday in the 100 meters.

NORRIS: With today's sprint, Bolt became the first male track athlete to win both the 100 and 200 meters during the same Olympics since Carl Lewis did it in 1984.

AS NPR's Tom Goldman reports, Bolt's double triumph couldn't come at a better time for the sport.

TOM GOLDMAN: It would be sacrilege to say: Michael Phelps, step aside. How about: Michael, could you make some room up there? Because what Usain Bolt has done in a total of 28.99 seconds, that's his 19.30 in the 200 and 9.69 in the 100, is as significant in track and field as eight gold are in swimming. At the very least, the Beijing Olympics in week two have found a dazzling remedy for their post-Phelps hangover.

(Soundbite of cheering)

GOLDMAN: What happened during those 19.30 seconds Wednesday was significant. His 100 meters race already is Olympic legend for the way Bolt clowned around near the end of the race. Although amazed, track purists were a bit offended by Bolt's antics, spreading his arms wide before the finish and pounding his chest, looking around, Wednesday, the purists were happy. Bolt grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and blew away his competitors. This time, when he pulled ahead, he gritted his teeth and then leaned across the finish line. He glanced to his left, saw the time and then spread his arms - a look of wide-eyed ecstasy on his face.

Mr. USAIN BOLT (200 and 100 Meters Winner, Olympics): This work means a lot to me because I've been dreaming of this since I was like, yay high so it means a lot, lot more to me than actually (unintelligible).

GOLDMAN: Bolt said the 200 has been his love since he was 15, which means it's been easier for the laid back Jamaican to put in the effort that paid off Wednesday.

Mr. BOLT: Last year, I did a lot of work, technique work, wise on my point, so everything just came together as tonight and I just blew my mind and blew the world's mind.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GOLDMAN: And perhaps his opponents as well. Bolt now is in that Phelps category where those lining up against him have to think, even though they never admit it, that they're racing for second place and maybe that was why the guys who did finish second and third - Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles and Wallace Spearmon of the U.S. - ran so hard they strayed from their lanes. That meant both were disqualified, and it gave Americans Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix the silver and bronze medals.

When Crawford spoke to reporters after the race, it was still being sorted out.

Mr. SHAWN CRAWFORD (100 Meters Silver Winner, Olympics): Oh, Lord. Okay. So, okay, so Wallace Spearmon stepped out. The second place got stepped out. Well, hopefully, Usain stepped out too. So that means…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CRAWFORD: I mean, I'll go home with the gold and not the way I wanted to go home with this. But there are two people who stepped out, hey, that'd be gold medal for me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GOLDMAN: Sorry, Shawn. Usain Bolt was straight and true. Crawford won the 2004 gold medal in this event. He's seen track and field battered in recent years by doping scandals. Crawford says Bolt, with his Jamaican breeziness and devastating speed, has offered people a different image of track.

Mr. CRAWFORD: I mean he came out, he added spirit to the sport. He danced for us in the introduction. He danced for us at the end. I mean, he put on a show. To me, I feel like him and athletics is just like Michael Phelps and swimming. I feel like he raised the bar for us his arms just spreading.

(Soundbite of music)

GOLDMAN: After his victory, Bolt jogged around the track, wrapped in a Jamaican flag and serenaded by a recording noting his 22nd birthday on Thursday. Twenty-two means he's still several years away from his prime, a frightening thought for opponents, a wonderful thought for track fans and a huge opportunity for those who run the sport at the elite level to take it off life support.

Tom Goldman, NPR News, Beijing.

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