BEIJING (Reuters) - Jamaican Usain Bolt finally gave his all for the full distance in his eighth race at the Beijing Olympics and his reward was to “blow the world’s mind”.
After coasting through six heats and one final — in which he set an Olympic 100 metres record to win a 100m first gold medal — Bolt had been accused of being the world’s fastest jogger.
But on Wednesday night, he ran every centimetre of the 200 metres to take four tenths of a second off his personal best and two hundredths off Michael Johnson’s 1996 world mark in a time of 19.30 seconds.
“Did that look easy?” he asked reporters on the eve of his 22nd birthday.
“No, that wasn’t easy. I felt like I was swimming, and I just kept telling myself ‘don’t die, don’t die’. That wasn’t easy I left everything on the track.
“I just blew my mind, and blew the world’s mind,” he added. “Anything is possible if I put my mind to it.
For Bolt, world silver medallist and former junior champion at the half-lap race, the 200m gold was the one he wanted the most.
“The 200 has been my love since I was 15,” he said. “I can’t really explain, it’s just close to my heart, and I’ll always love the 200 metres.”
Johnson, who doubled up to win gold at the 200m and 400m at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, suggested on Wednesday that Bolt should consider runing the 100, 200, and 400.
Bolt, whose motivation to start running the 100 last year was to avoid the training the 400 involved, said it was unlikely.
“Don’t hold your breath,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll be going up to the 400 metres anytime soon.”
Bolt, who puts a lot of store on having time to relax, said he was looking forward to running for another gold in the 4x100m relay but first wanted to get to bed.
“I’ve written history pretty much, so I’m happy with myself,” he said. “I’m just really proud. To tell you the truth, right now I’m just happy. I just want to chill out, I want to sleep.”
Bolt had another area of disagreement with Johnson, who described the Jamaican as “Superman 2” after his extraordinary run on Wednesday.
“I’m Lightning Bolt,” said the 100 and 200 metres Olympic champion. “I’m not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Lightning Bolt.” (Additional reporting by Gene Cherry, Jason Subler, Liu Xhen and Paul Eckert)