Usain Bolt blazed to yet another sprint double by destroying American rival Justin Gatlin to retain his world 200 metres crown in Beijing on Thursday.
The peerless Jamaican, who has now won gold in his favourite event at the last four world championships, clocked an electrifying time of 19.55 seconds with a jaw-dropping display at the Bird’s Next stadium, where he shot to fame at the 2008 Olympics.
His only scare came on his lap of honour where he was bizarrely run over by a Chinese cameraman trying to film while riding a two-wheeled Segway scooter.
But Bolt’s fireworks overshadowed a strong evening for the United States after a ho-hum start to the competition, with Allyson Felix storming to the women’s 400m gold and Christian Taylor winning the men’s triple jump with the second longest leap ever.
Once again, however, Bolt stole the headlines on a balmy evening in the Chinese capital with a truly staggering run, after drawing first blood in his rivalry with two-time doping offender Gatlin by winning the 100m last weekend.
Kissing his vest and patting his chest before the race, Bolt quickly blew past Gatlin coming into the bend, surging clear to win in a season-leading time. Gatlin took silver in 19.74 and South African Anaso Jobodwana the bronze in a national record 19.87.
“There was no doubt,” said Bolt, winner of an astonishing 11 of the last 12 individual world and Olympic sprint titles since he lit up Beijing in 2008.
“I told you guys I will do it. When it comes to the 200 I am a different person.” Felix and Taylor produced superb performances to win the second and third gold medals for an American team which had failed to fire over the first five days of the championships.
Kenya top the table so far with six gold medals, despite two of their athletes failing doping tests. Allegations of widespread doping plunged athletics into crisis before the world championships but Bolt’s heroics have once again papered over the cracks.
Felix, the most decorated female athlete in track and field history based on her 200m and relay success, justified her decision to step up to the 400m with a comprehensive win, clocking a time of 49.26 seconds, the best in the world this year.