Usain Bolt is still taking it easy.
After breezing across the finish line ahead of the rest of the field in his semifinal heat in the men's 200 meters, Bolt gestured to the attendant cameras as if to say "slow down" or "let's not get ahead of ourselves."
As per usual when the 25-year-old Jamaican track star runs in the Olympics, nobody could get ahead of him in his 200 meter semifinal heat. Bolt's time of 20.18 seconds placed him first in Heat 2 and improved upon the 20.39 he ran in Round 1. He faced greater pressure on Wednesday night from Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa, who finished second in Heat 2 in 20.27 than he received in his first 200 trip on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the drama in the race was at least at much about the timing of Bolt's inevitable downshift as it was about the other runners.
In Heat 1, Bolt's training parter Yohan Blake qualified with a faster time of 20.01 seconds. Blake, who also appeared to ease up as he reached the finish line, was followed quickly by U.S. sprinter Wallace Spearmon in 20.02 seconds. The third heat was won Churandy Martina of the Netherlands (by way of Curacao) in 20.17 seconds. He was followed by the third Jamaican sprinter to reach the final, Warren Weir
"Woulda, coulda, shoulda. He still won," Spearmon said to The Associated Press about how close he came to catching Blake. "Bet he won't do that tomorrow."
CLICK HERE for complete results from semifinals of men's 200 meters.
Blake is considered the prime competition for Bolt, having bested him in the event at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Of course, Blake also beat Bolt in the 100 meters at those Trials. That result didn't matter much on Sunday night as Bolt burned to an Olympic record and a repeat gold in that distance.
"I've told Yohan Blake that 200 meters will be different, because that's my signature event," Bolt told reporters after winning his first gold medal at the London Olympics. "I'm not going to let him beat me again. I've said that to him already."
Blake will have his chance to beat Bolt again on Thursday evening. Presumably, no one who ends up on the medal stand will be easing into the finish in that race.