Bolt coasted to his third straight 200-meter world title Saturday, with the race basically wrapped as soon as he entered the finishing straight.
Jamaican teammate Warren Weir never got close to Bolt’s world-leading mark of 19.66 seconds, but crossing .13 seconds later for silver still left him enough time to join him in a reggae dance to Bob Marley’s ”Three Little Birds.”
”The energy was great tonight,” Bolt said. ”The crowd was into it.”
Curtis Mitchell of the United States took bronze in 20.24 but was never in the hunt for gold.
Now Bolt will go for his fourth triple gold at a major championship when he joins the Jamaican team for the 4×100 relay Sunday.
”It should be even better,” Bolt said.
The wealth of Jamaican sprinting is such that they might well sweep their American rivals in unprecedented fashion, after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clinched a similar 100-200 double and also has her final relay late on the closing day of the championships.
The opposition could hardly touch Bolt on Saturday, and once it was clear his right foot was OK after he dropped a starting block on it early in the week, everything was as good as gold.
Even his start was strong as he quickly gained a decisive edge. And then in the finishing straight, Bolt fully let loose his giant stride, the one that has dumbfounded rivals since he won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
His seventh world title leaves him one shy of American greats Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, who lead the overall gold medal standings in the 30-year history of the event. On Sunday, Bolt can pull alongside them, even though he is only 26.
His maturity showed Saturday, though, as the wild hot-dogging of the Beijing Games gave way to a sense of near-seriousness.
His Lightning Bolt stance came late, and besides the dance steps, his celebration was subdued.
”I got to face the fact that I am getting older so I have to try not getting injured during the season,” Bolt said.
The only thing that never changes is the gold.
And that is what the Americans are missing, overtaken by Russia in the gold medal standings on two great performances Saturday.
While the Russians were beating the heavily favored U.S. women’s 4×400 relay team, Svetlana Shkolina edged Brigetta Barrett in the high jump.
The Russian won by 1 1/4 inches, clearing 6 feet, 8 inches. Defending world champion Anna Chicherova, who is also the Olympic champion, had to settle for bronze at 6-5 1/2.
”The crowd’s roar for the 4×400 relay really put me up for my last attempt,” Shkolina said.
Emma Green Tregaro of Sweden, who wore rainbow-colored fingernails during qualifying to show support for Russian gays and lesbians in the face of an anti-gay law, finished fifth in the final with red nails after track officials said the gesture may violate the meet’s code of conduct.
”It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them,” Green Tregaro said. ”I’m surprised by the big reactions, but I’m happy about the big reaction because it’s mostly been very positive.”
With the closing day to come, Russia leads the gold medal standings with seven, ahead of the United States with six. In overall medals, the American team leads the host nation 20-15.
Bolt’s medal pushed Jamaica into third place with four golds.
The United States got its only gold of the night from 21-year-old Brianna Rollins, who surged at the end of the 100 hurdles to edge Olympic champion Sally Pearson. Her winning time of 12.44 seconds beat the Australian by .06 seconds.
Early in the day, Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich became the first non-Kenyan since 2005 to win the men’s marathon gold medal at worlds.
The Ugandan broke away from Boston Marathon champ Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in the shaded park around Luhzniki Stadium to win his country’s first men’s world title in the 30-year history of the championships.
”I am so happy I won another gold medal for my country,” Kiprotich said. ”Now I am the Olympic and world champion.”
Another Ethiopian, Tadese Tola, took bronze on a warm afternoon in the Russian capital.
Later in the evening, Ethiopian veteran Meseret Defar added the 5,000 world title to her Olympic gold medal with a strong finish.
Defar, the 2007 world champion, finished in 14:50.19, beating silver medalist Mercy Cherono of Kenya by 1.03 seconds.