Usain Bolt will have a chance to repeat as the gold medalist in the men's 100 meters after qualifying for the final at the London Olympics.
Bolt finished in first place in his heat, even letting up toward the end. Ryan Bailey of the United States finished second to Bolt in that heat with a time of 9.96 seconds. Justin Gatlin of the United States finished first in the first heat with a time of 9.82 seconds. Bolt's countryman, Yohan Blake, topped the third heat, finishing in 9.85 seconds, with Tyson Gay coming in second in 9.90 seconds.
Blake famously defeated Bolt in the 100 and 200 meters at the Jamaican Olympic Trials.
The two fastest runners from each of the three semifinal heats advances to the final along with the next two fastest losers, per the competition format.
Men's 100-Meter Final Qualifiers
Justin Gatlin (USA) 9.82
Yohan Blake (JAM) 9.85
Usain Bolt (JAM) 9.87
Tyson Gay (USA) 9.90
Churandy Martina (NET) 9.91
Asafa Powell (JAM) 9.94
Ryan Bailey (USA) 9.96
Richard Thompson (T&T) 10.02
*stats via London2012.com
CLICK HERE for complete results from 100 meter semifinals.
Bolt reached the semifinal by running a 10.09 second time in the qualifying heat, overcoming a slow start out of the blocks.
The 100 meters final is set for later Sunday night. Bolt will attempt to repeat as the gold medalist. He currently owns both the world record and Olympic record.
MORE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON (AP) — Usain Bolt built a big lead and jogged his way across the line to easily win his 100-meter Olympic semifinal in 9.87 seconds, setting up a chance for a second consecutive gold medal in the dash later Sunday.
Joining world-record holder Bolt in a star-studded final were all the expected contenders, including his Jamaican teammate and training partner, world champion Yohan Blake.
A third Jamaican qualified, former world-record holder Asafa Powell, as did the U.S. trio of 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, past world champion Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey.
Also into the final: 2008 Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands.
Bolt got off to a slow start, accelerated quickly and eased up halfway through.
Earlier on HuffPost:
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more