Usain Bolt threw his arm to the ground in disgust after winning 200m gold in 19.78sec, in a rare public demonstration of how seriously he takes his work despite the joviality.
He had just become the first man in history to win both 100m and 200m titles at three consecutive Olympics but had failed in his very ambitious aim of beating his own world record of 19.19 he set on a balmy night at the Berlin world championships in August 2009.
Canada’s Andre De Grasse also claimed his second medal of the week, finishing second in 20.02. But there was heartache for Britain’s Adam Gemili who agonisingly missed out on bronze, crossing the line in 20.12, exactly the same time as Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre who took bronze. He was hollow eyed as the result flashed up on the big screen.
He always finds a different tactic to excite his public on the start line. This time it was a samba dance before he settled down. Once the disappointment of not breaking the world record evaporated he quite accurately mouthed ‘number one’ into the TV cameras.
The Jamaican has not lost a major championships race over 200m since winning silver at the 2007 worlds in Osaka and he was not about to surrender that record just yet.
But Justin Gatlin, who has served two drugs bans, was not able to play the role of pantomime villain on Thursday night after suffering a surprise early exit, finishing third in his semi-final.
‘I thought he would have made it,’ he said. ‘But I could tell in the 100m he was feeling the pain and slowing down. It’s just the fact you’re getting old. To double at a championships where the young guys are stepping up is really hard.’