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Usain Bolt Still the Fastest Man in the World

The Jamaican sprinter becomes the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles
By The News · 15 of August 2016 07:49:00
Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Canada's Andre De Grasse compete in a men's 100-meter semifinal, No available, photo: AP/Lee Jin-man

RIO DE JANEIRO — Even a lumbering start couldn’t slow down the world’s fastest man.

Usain Bolt became the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, blowing down the straightaway in 9.81 seconds at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Jamaican great defeated U.S. rival Justin Gatlin by 0.08 seconds for his seventh Olympic gold medal. Andre de Grasse of Canada won the bronze.

Bolt started pulling away from Gatlin with about 30 meters left. His electrifying kick capped an exciting Day 9 of the Rio Games that included Justin Rose winning the first Olympic golfing gold medal in 112 years with a two-stroke win over British Open champion Henrik Stenson.

U.S. teen sensation Simone Biles added a third gold in gymnastics, capturing the women’s vault title, and the U.S. men’s basketball team had yet another scare, this one from France, before advancing to the quarterfinals as the top, albeit shaky, seed.

Bolt added the Rio gold medal to the ones he won in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. After kicking off his gold spikes, he flashed a smile and his signature pose, the Jamaican flag draping from his shoulders.

Klay Thompson ended an Olympic-long slump with 30 points, and the U.S. needed almost all of them to hold off France 100-97 in basketball. It was the third straight close call for the favorites, who are looking as beatable as ever under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain beat Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina for his second consecutive Olympic singles tennis gold medal. His 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory halted the resurgent run of the 141st-ranked Del Potro, who knocked off No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round and No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

In the latest security incident to hit South America’s first Olympic Games, Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday by thieves posing as police officers who pulled over their taxi and took cash and credit cards.

Nobody was hurt, but Lochte told NBA’s “Today” show that one of the robbers put a cocked gun to his head and ordered him to get on the ground.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Phelps, a good friend of Lochte’s and one of his roommates in the athletes’ village.

Phelps spent the evening with his family and wasn’t out with his teammates.

Street crime is among the litany of problems the Olympics has struggled with. Brazil deployed 85,000 soldiers and police to secure the games. But last week a Brazilian security officer was fatally shot after taking a wrong turn into a slum, two Australian rowing coaches were attacked and robbed in Ipanema and Portugal’s education minister was held up at knifepoint on a busy street.

In addition, stray bullets have twice landed in the equestrian venue, and two windows were shattered on a bus carrying journalists in an attack that local organizers blamed on rocks and others claimed was gunfire.

Among many other embarrassments are empty seats, long lines and green water in some of the Olympic pools.

Synchronized swimmers were greeted Sunday by clear blue water in the pool after officials worked through the night to replace the murky green water that prompted competitors to dub it “The Swamp.”

ARNIE STAPLETON