The signature event of the 2012 London Olympics is now set with the Men's 100m semifinals completed. Usain Bolt moved through to the finals with a time of 9.87 seconds. The defending Olympic champion and world record holder went off in heat two in lane four and blew away the field in the second semi. He didn't even get off to the best of starts, but still put the brakes on and put it into cruise control over the final 20 meters.
Bolt has had a tumultuous stretch between Beijing and London, from blazing a new world record in Berlin to taking some heat off the track for his partying ways to being beat out by countryman Yohan Blake during Jamaican trials. But he once again looked like the fastest man on earth with his performance in the semifinals.
In addition to three Jamaican superstars, each heat featured a Team USA sprinter. Justin Gatlin led things off and raced in the first heat, posting a time of 9.82. Gatlin was incredibly impressive in opening the semifinals, even taking time to look around over the final 10 meters as he cruised across the line. It was the second-fastest time in Olympic history behind Bolt's 9.69 in Beijing. He certainly looks to be a medal contender and someone who could perhaps push Bolt in the finals.
Jamaican Asafa Powell, who held the world record for three years until Bolt burst onto the scene in 2008, came in third and posted a time of 9.94 in the first heat -- good enough to qualify. Churandy Martina of the Netherlands just edged Powell to automatically qualify with a time of 9.91.
In addition to Bolt, the second heat featured American Ryan Bailey. He did not get of the blocks quickly, but came back down the stretch and qualified for the finals with a time of 9.96.
The third heat set up a superstar battle between Jamaican Yohan Blake and American Tyson Gay. Blake, who defeated Bolt in both the 100m and 200m in their country's Olympic trials, posted a time of 9.85 to qualify easily. Gay wrapped up the semifinals for the Americans on the heels of Blake with a time of 9.90.
Seven qualifiers were all under 10 seconds in what is shaping up to be perhaps the strongest ever field in the Men's 100m finals.
- Justin Gatlin, USA: 9.82
- Yohan Blake, Jamaica: 9.85
- Usain Bolt, Jamaica: 9.87
- Tyson Gay, USA: 9.90
- Churandy Martina, Netherlands: 9.91
- Asafa Powell, Jamaica: 9.94
- Ryan Bailey, USA: 9.96
- Richard Thompson, Trinidad and Tobago: 10:02
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