Usain Bolt is back.

Racing against a star-studded field in which every qualifier ran faster than 10 seconds in the semifinal, Bolt successfully defended his 2008 gold medal in the 100 meters by setting a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds.

"I executed, and that's the key," Bolt told reporters after celebrating his fourth career gold medal with a victory lap. "I stopped worrying about the start. The end is what's important."

Yohan Blake of Jamaica took silver in 9.75 seconds, with Justin Gatlin of the United States capturing bronze in 9.79 seconds. A training partner of Bolt, Blake equalled a personal best with his runner-up time. Also setting or equalling personal best times were Gatlin and Ryan Bailey of the United States, who finished fifth. Of course, with a who's who of international track stars -- largely hailing from the United States and Jamaica -- it was no surprise to see the scoreboard light up with such stellar times.

"It will take a 9.7 to even get a medal. It's mind blowing," Tyson Gay of the United States told the Daily Mail shortly before the Games. Gay burned to a personal season's best 9.80 to finish fourth. True to his prediction, all top three finishers crossed the line under 9.8 seconds.

While the 25-year-old Bolt did not better the world record mark of 9.58 seconds that he established in Berlin in 2009, he did best the 9.69 time he posted in the event at the 2008 Olympics. Despite noticeably slowing up to celebrate before even reaching the finish line during the 100-meter dash in Beijing, Bolt's time was then a world record. While that mark didn't stand very long, rumors of Bolt's lack of fitness lingered for months leading up to the games. He was defeated by Blake in the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the Jamaican Olympic Trials and revealed just days before the Olympics that he had been dealing with a back problem that had created hamstring issues. By the time that Bolt reached the track for his first 100-meter heat on Saturday morning, there were more questions swirling around him than answers.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, left, crosses the finish line ahead of Ryan Bailey of the United States in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, left, heads for the finish line ahead of Ryan Bailey of the United States in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, and United States' Ryan Bailey run the final leg of the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Great Britain's Mohamed Farah imitate each other after the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt poses on the podium after receiving his gold medal for the men's 4x100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • United States' Ryan Bailey, left, and Jamaica's Usain Bolt, second from right, power ahead after receiving the batons from their team members in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • United States' Ryan Bailey, left, receives the baton from United States' Tyson Gay, second from left, as Jamaica's Usain Bolt, second from right, receives the baton from Jamaica's Yohan Blake in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Jamaica's Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake celebrate as they receive their gold medals for the men's 4x100-meter during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, and Yohan Blake celebrate their win in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, and Yohan Blake celebrate their win in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt takes the baton to lead in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza)

  • Jamaica's Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater pose with their national flag after their gold medal win in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt prepares to pass United States' Ryan Bailey in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Jamaica set a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, and Jamaica's Yohan Blake celebrate winning gold and setting a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, and Jamaica's Yohan Blake celebrate winning gold and setting a new world record with a time of 36.84 seconds in the men's 4x100-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the gold medal in front of the Olympic flame after the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, is surrounded by photographers after winning gold in the men's 200-meter during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates his gold medal win in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt kisses the track after winning the gold medal in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, center, is embraced by his mother Jennifer, center left, after he won gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates his gold medal win in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, left, hugs his teammate Yohan Blake after winning the gold medal in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt races to his gold medal finish in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, center, runs to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. Others runners are, from left, South Africa's Anaso Jobodwana, Jamaica's Warren Weir and United States' Wallace Spearmon. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates his gold medal win in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt strikes his signature pose after his gold medal win in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, celebrates winning gold in the men's 200-meter final with spectators during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt does a press up on the track after winning the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, center, Jamaica's Yohan Blake, left, and Jamaica's Warren Weir celebrate their medals in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. Bolt won gold, Blake silver and Weir bronze. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt reacts as he wins the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

  • Jamaica's Yohan Blake, left, celebrates winning silver with Jamaica's Usain Bolt, who won gold, following the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, left, gestures after crossing the finish line to win gold ahead of silver medallist Yohan Blake of Jamaica, center, and bronze medallist Warren Weir of Jamaica in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, third left, reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt second left, reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt wins the finals of the men's 200-meter in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt gestures as he crosses the finish line to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt gestures as he wins the finals of the men's 200-meter in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt, foreground, crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Jamaica's Yohan Blake in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt gestures as he wins the finals of the men's 200-meter in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

With the world watching, Bolt delivered a resounding record-setting victory and emphatic answers to those many questions. Unfurling his long, graceful leonine strides, Bolt overtook his talented opponents despite having the fifth slowest reaction time and being mired in the pack midway through the race.

Yes, he is still the world's fastest man. Yes, he can still find that extra gear when he needs it. Yes, he still has the same joyfulness about him that so enchanted the world in 2008. And, yes, he is in the minority of people that are totally cool with Wenlock, the bizarre mascot of the London Games.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

usain bolt

"There's no doubt he's the greatest sprinter of all time now," gushed Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago to The Associated Press after finishing seventh in the 100. The only person who may want to argue with Bolt's claim is Carl Lewis, the only other sprinter with back-to-back gold medals in the 100 meters (1984, 1988). Not long before the London Games, Lewis expressed doubts that Bolt would be able to repeat as Olympic champ.

Having successfully repeated in the 100 meters, Bolt now turns his attention to the 200 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. In 2008, Bolt won all three events in world-record time. When reporters finally tracked Bolt down, he shared a message that he'd given Blake, who will be competing against him in the 200.

"I told him (Blake) that he wont beat me in the 200," Bolt said, via Audrey Snyder of USA Today. "That's what I do."

Any remaining doubters should take note of the verb tense. Bolt isn't talking about what he did. Rather, he's talking about what he currently does. Stay tuned.